Japanese student Miki Hayasaka, 37, was studying at King's Education in the CTV building to broaden her job prospects as a nurse.
She died when the building collapsed during the earthquake.
Miki's friend, Isaac Savage, said she was an outgoing woman who was a teenager at heart and had many friends.
"She hung out with young people, she was the life of the party."
He said she loved New Zealand's environment and laid-back lifestyle.