Scholars to 'live out' quake victim's vision
The legacy of earthquake victim Rika Hyuga lives on through a scholarship fund worth more than $100,000.
Her father today watched six Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology students be awarded the Rika Fund Scholarship, in memory of his only daughter.
Hyuga, an experienced nurse, was studying the English language at Kings Education so she could practise nursing in New Zealand.
She, along with 63 foreign students and eight members of staff, died when the Canterbury Television building collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake.
Hyuga was one of eight people who were known to have been alive after the collapse, but were unable to be rescued.
She shared her cellphone with others trapped around her so they could contact their host families and friends.
Her father, who wanted to keep his first name private, wanted to continue his daughter's dream of practising nursing in New Zealand and contacted CPIT about 18 months ago to establish the scholarship.
Although Hyuga did not study at CPIT, it is Christchurch's only institute offering a bachelor of nursing.
CPIT chief executive Kay Giles said the scholarship was '''one of the good things that came from the tragedy of the earthquake".
"The scholarship will allow students to ''live out [Hyuga's] vision and her ambition in a way that she can never do.''
She could not be drawn on how much the scholarship fund was worth, but said it was in excess of $100,000 and would help students for many years.
Bachelor of language (Japanese) students Chris Boyce and Krista Fenemor and bachelor of nursing students Gina Bayliss, In Hwa Lee, Heather Jamieson and Danielle Pope were the first six recipients.
The student nurses received a $2000 contribution towards their studies and Boyce and Fenemor received airfares to Japan.
Second-year nursing student Bayliss said she was overwhelmed with the generosity of Hyuga's father.
''How do you thank somebody for this? I makes me want to cry when I think about it.''
The scholarships will be awarded twice a year to students enrolled in CPIT nursing or Japanese programmes.