Whanganui teenager Emma Conley has little doubt that her grandfather would be happy to see her heading to Victoria University to study international relations.

Emma is the latest recipient of the Eric & Zita Lawrence Trust Bursary Award of $3000 towards her study costs, and her essay about her grandfather Zellic Garvitch's World War II experiences impressed the trust members.

Mr Garvitch was the son of a Siberian immigrant father and New Zealander mother who served as a navy radio mechanic on British warships.

Emma wrote that her grandfather met her grandmother - Australian Joan Dodd, while stationed in Melbourne and she would later follow him home to New Zealand.


"Grandad's involvement in the war meant that he couldn't go to university, and so his life's path was changed forever," wrote Emma.

The 17-year-old said her grandfather never wanted to see another war and hoped his children and grandchildren would never have to go to one.

"It did mean that he met my grandmother, so without the war I wouldn't be here."

Veteran Eric Lawrence and his wife Zita had no children of their own, and they left their house to the Wanganui Returned Services Association which set up a trust to administer the fund and make education grants to descendants of war veterans each year.

Steve Vautier was Wanganui RSA president when the bursary award was started in the mid-1990s, and he was there to present Emma with the award last week.

"Eric Lawrence ran a transport business in Whanganui that ran between here and Taumarunui.

"It was a wonderful gesture to make the education bequest - he was a great believer in education and wanted the descendants of veterans to have opportunities."

The trust has provided support for young people studying for a wide range of qualifications.