Hundreds farewell student killed cycling

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 15:37 07/04/2014
Sharla Phyllis Haerewa
TREASURE: Nursing student Sharla Haerewa was "a beautiful, loving and caring girl".

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Friends and whanau of killed cyclist Sharla Phyllis Haerewa have celebrated a loving and caring ''treasure'', who was becoming an exceptional nurse.

About 800 people - and the 22-year-old student's dog, Aroha - attended her funeral at the Christchurch Polytechnic's Te Puna Wanaka Marae today.

Haerewa died after she was hit by a truck while cycling on Lincoln Rd about 6.40am last Wednesday.

She was on her way to Christchurch Hospital for work, a job she loved, those gathered heard.

Her body was welcomed into the marae with a loud haka powhiri.

Mourners filled the seats, the floor and the entrance to the marae, the same place where she was welcomed on her first day of nursing training two years ago.

Those who spoke described Haerewa as quiet and shy at first, but bright and bubbly when she came out of her shell.

Haerewa was vegan and liked to stay fit, through running or softball and netball. She often tried to convince her partner, Andrew, to go running with her, one speaker said.

Cousins told stories about a ''sweet, beautiful, loving and caring girl'' who was protective of the people she loved, and could get away with anything with a smile.

She was also proud of her Maori heritage and culture, friends said.

She went everywhere with Aroha, and would not hesitate to stand up for those she loved.

Her partner, Andrew, who she met at Cashmere High School, said, ''Good-bye my love, go in peace''.

Cathy Andrew, who is head of nursing at CPIT, said Haerewa, who was in her second year of training, excelled in the profession to the point where it was unusual.

''She wasn't a good nurse . . . she was an exceptional nurse,'' she said.

Her nursing friend, Haidee Moore, said Haerewa, who she called ''Sharla-la'', was "such a gentle soul''.

They often got to classes five minutes late because they talked and laughed too much on the walk there.

''I always admired your determination,'' she told her friend.

Moore and Haerewa went to Queenstown together and, last weekend, jet boating on the Waimakariri River - the last time she saw her friend.

''I'm so grateful we had that opportunity to go,'' she said.

''We had so many plans, but not enough time. You touched everyone with your infectious smile. We're all missing you like crazy.''

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- The Press

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