New Japanese scholarship in memory of quake victim

News News & events

28 Feb 2014

A new scholarship to study in Japan has been established by the parents of a student who lost her life in the February 22 earthquake.

Rika Hyuga was a Japanese student studying English, so that she could practise nursing in New Zealand. Tragically, Rika died in the collapse of the CTV building in the February 22 2011 earthquake.

The new Kanto Gakuin High School Scholarship gives a secondary school student the chance to spend three months in Japan and attend Rika’s High School.

Since Rika’s death her parents, Mr and Mrs Hyuga, have established a trust to continue Rika’s dreams of being a nurse. They set up the ‘Rika Fund’ which benefits New Zealand and Japanese students through scholarships. The Rika scholarships are awarded twice a year to students enrolled in CPIT nursing or Bachelor of Language in Japanese programmes.

Mr Hyuga with scholarship recipient

Now, the Hyugas have established a new scholarship to help Christchurch secondary school students visit Japan.

Joni Palmer, an Aranui High School student who has learnt Japanese, has won the first ever of these scholarships.  Joni will be travelling to Japan in March where she will attend Kanto Gakuin High School and stay with the Hyugas.

Mr Hyuga awarded the scholarship in person as he has been visiting Christchurch to commemorate the third anniversary of the February 22 earthquake. At the ceremony, he told Joni she would “be his daughter in Japan.”

CPIT International director Beth Knowles says she was deeply humbled by such generosity from the Hyuga family to Christchurch students.

“This first scholarship for secondary school students studying Japanese is a great way to promote learning Japanese at secondary level and we hope this will motivate more students to learn about Japanese language and culture,” she says.

The Rika Fund accepts donations from anyone wishing to contribute.