Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Teens get the chance that Christie missed

Trust formed in honour of murdered teenager sends two winners to Outward Bound course.

Harriet Clarke  and Junior Kasiano are the inaugural winners of the Christie Marceau Charitable Trust Outward Bound scholarship. Photos / Dean Purcell, Brett Phibbs
Harriet Clarke and Junior Kasiano are the inaugural winners of the Christie Marceau Charitable Trust Outward Bound scholarship. Photos / Dean Purcell, Brett Phibbs

The family of Christie Marceau marked what would have been her 21st birthday by giving two other youngsters an opportunity of a lifetime.

Christie would have celebrated the milestone on Wednesday had she not been stabbed to death in her home in November 2011.

The 18-year-old university student died in her mother Tracey's arms after Akshay Chand burst into their North Shore house just before 7am armed with a knife and a hammer.

Chand was on bail at the time and was facing charges of kidnapping, threatening and assaulting Christie two months earlier.

After her death, Christie's family vowed to create a positive legacy that would allow other teenagers to do some of the things Christie had wanted to do.

The Christie Marceau Charitable Trust was launched in 2012 and it announced that a scholarship would be awarded enabling a young person to attend an Outward Bound course.

The scholarship is funded by donations.

On Christie's birthday, Carmel College student Harriet Clarke, 18, and 17-year-old Junior Kasiano from Mt Roskill Grammar were named as the inaugural winners of the scholarship.

The pair were among five finalists who were interviewed by the trust board, including Mrs Marceau and Christie's sister, Heather.

"It was a really tough decision because all five that we interviewed stood out in their own unique way," said Mrs Marceau. "Me being me, [I] wanted to give it to all of them but Harriet and Junior just had that extra little spark.

"When we met her, I instantly knew that Harriet was the type of girl Christie would have given a lot of time to. I just instantly warmed to her as she was such a lovely girl. I guess in a way my decision was based through Christie's eyes."
Tracey Marceau

Mrs Marceau said the decision to award the second scholarship was spontaneous.

"The trust was able to award Junior the scholarship thanks to a very generous donation from a co-sponsor. We are extremely thankful for this as both Harriet and Junior are equally deserving."

She said announcing the winners on Christie's birthday was deliberate.

"It was a way for us to celebrate Christie's life and a milestone that we had been robbed of physically celebrating. It is a gift from Christie and keeps her memory alive and close to us,' Mrs Marceau said.

"These two scholarships are the first of many to come and I know Christie is happy that we are giving back a little for all the love and support she and our family have received."

Harriet could not believe it when she was told she had won.

"I was speechless ... but I was just so thankful for the opportunity. It is a dream come true," she said.

Christie Marceau would have turned 21 last week.

"The opportunity to do the course is amazing, but the opportunity to meet the people that make up the trust was also great. They are so inspiring."

Junior was overwhelmed when he heard the news.

"I was over the moon. It wasn't expected, but I was really happy," he said.

Both teens knew about Christie's death and felt honoured to be part of her legacy.

Charity event
*The Christie Marceau Charitable Trust will hold its 2014 fundraiser, the Turquoise in Heaven charity dinner, on June 14.
*The event will be held at The Wharf at Northcote Pt and includes a three-course dinner, charity auction and live band.
*Tickets are $150.

- NZ Herald

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