Leaving a gift in your Will

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The University of Canterbury (UC) is committed to being one of the finest universities in the world and is a leader in teaching and research, providing generations of students with a world class learning environment, a vibrant campus and a great student lifestyle packed with opportunities. We are proud to be ranked in the top 1 percent of universities in the world.

Our donors play a vital role in making UC the respected institution it is today, and thanks to the continued generosity from our supporters, the UC Foundation (the charitable trust that sources donations to support the university) funds endowments, scholarships, research, building improvements and essential equipment to continue this success.

Leaving a gift in your Will is just one of the many ways you can support UC. Your legacy to the UC Foundation invests in the future of tomorrow's students, and every donation, whatever the size, will have a positive impact for years and generations to come.

We are immensely grateful for every gift we receive, whether is is a specific sum or a small percentage of whatever is left once you have thought about those close to you.

Our bequest promise to you:

  • We will always respect your privacy. You are not required to inform us of your decision to leave a gift in your Will to the UC Foundation, although we would love to have the opportunity to say thank you and to keep you informed in a way that is preferable to you.
  • We understand that those close to you come first.
  • If you remember the UC Foundation in your Will, we will use your gift carefully to achieve the greatest possible impact.
  • You can change your mind about a gift in your Will to the UC Foundation at any time.
Mt John bequests

Discoveries of the Southern Sky at Mount John Observatory

Students skateboard sitting arts lawn landscape

Hardship scholarships for the best and brightest


Perpetuating excellence in Engineering

General Funds - Where the need is greatest

General Funds - Where the need is greatest

Supporting UC’s School of Fine Arts

Supporting UC’s School of Fine Arts

Child & Family Psychology

Nurturing the Child & Family Psychology Programme

Vida Stout

Advancing Limnology and Environmental Science

Science outreach

Encouraging young people to study Science


Erskine Programme – enhancing knowledge and teaching

fostering musical talent

Fostering Musical Talent


Increasing access to digital and print materials

mental illness and nutrition health

Understanding the relationship between mental illness and nutrition health

advancing maths and statistics

Advancing maths and statistics

A gift in your Will could transform lives for generations. The impact of education and research on people’s lives in undeniably wonderful and it should be available for everyone, everywhere. A gift in your Will can help make this is a reality.

Below are just a few of the examples of how gifts in Wills have impacted the lives of students, researchers and the University of Canterbury as a whole.

Mt John Observatory 
UC's Physics and Astronomy Department's astronomical observatory on top of Mt John, near Lake Tekapo, provides outstanding conditions for observations and discoveries of the southern sky. Thanks to a generous gift bequeathed to us by the Estate of Brian Morrissey, UC has been able to continue original scientific research in Physics, Astrophysics and Astronomy.  

Bright Start Scholarship
UC provides these highly sought after scholarships to students who have a high academic ability but are prevented from attending tertiary education because of financial or personal circumstances. Thanks to many generous donors over the years, this scholarship continues to provide a helping hand to future generations of students from all regions of New Zealand. In 2017, the estate of Miss Lindsay Helen McDowall and the estate of Amie Jamieson was added to this fund. 

Our Civil and Natural Resources Engineering Department is ranked in the top 100 worldwide Civil Engineering departments. Chemical and Process Engineering and Electrical and Electronic Engineering are ranked in the top 250. An Engineering degree from UC is internationally recognised, allowing graduates to work all over the world. Our broad range of postgraduate specialist qualifications are designed to meet industry demand and graduates are sought after locally and internationally. Thanks to a continued stream of generous gifts bequeathed to UC that allow us to continue offering inspirational teaching and innovative research, we are well on our way to becoming one of the top ten engineering colleges in the Southern Hemisphere. The Estate of John Sutherland and the Estate of Annie Shearer have recently supported the UC College of Engineering. 

General Fund
The Page General Fund was initiated in 2014 by a donation from Dr Sally Page to enable UC, at the discretion of the UC Foundation Trustees, to financially support:

  1. Research, including travel and other expenses
  2. Student recruitment and retention e.g. Scholarships
  3. New buildings and the costs of fitting them out
  4. Maintenance and upkeep of existing facilities
  5. New equipment used by students and staff

Numerous donors have topped up this fund over the last few years, allowing the UC Foundation to support one or more areas within the University where the need is greatest. The Page General Fund will become endowed in time, thanks to an intended bequest, meaning that the fund will support the above priorities in perpetuity. Donations and top-ups to this fund are always deeply appreciated and allow the UC Foundation to direct gifts to the most crucial area of need within UC at that given time.

Fine Arts
In 1962 a sum of money was bequeathed by Miss I D Harkness in memory of her sister, Miss Muriel Harkness, a former student of the School of Fine Arts, for the general purposes of the School, and for the general development and appreciation of art throughout Canterbury.  This remarkable act of generosity currently funds a series of invited lectures; a scholar in residence; a visiting practitioner and/or short-term artist-in-residence programme; exhibitions; and research programmes. 

Chrystabel Aitken was a respected artist and a member of the Christchurch ‘Group' art collective from 1936 to 1966, an elected member of the New Zealand Society of Artists and a member of the Canterbury Society of Artists. After a full and happy life, she passed away 6 weeks short of her 101st birthday in 2005. Her memory lives on with the Chrystabel L Aitken Scholarship for Fine Arts, which was established to support students in the School of Fine Arts who face financial challenges.

Child and Family Psychology
The UC postgraduate Child and Family Psychology programme is unique within New Zealand and is taught by academic and clinical staff from the UC School of Health Sciences with other teaching staff as appropriate. It was designed to meet market demand for registered psychologists specifically trained to work with children, adolescents and families. The programme focuses on children’s mental health and emotional well-being, in addition to their learning and aims to reflect the social and political context of children in Aotearoa (New Zealand) with an appropriate bicultural emphasis. In 2011, The Estate of Anne Wignall’s kindly left a bequest that supported the intensive training of a student studying a Postgraduate Diploma in the Child and Family Psychology programme.  Anne’s gift covers the associated fees for clinical teaching and supervision, as well as an internship position. 

Limnology and Environmental Science 
Vida Stout was a member of a highly distinguished New Zealand family. Her father was a surgeon and Vice Chancellor of Victoria University Wellington and her grandfather was the 13th premier of New Zealand and later Chief Justice.  In 1968 she and the late Ann Chapman founded the New Zealand Limnological Society (now the NZ Freshwater Sciences Society) as a forum where freshwater workers could meet at an annual conference and contribute to a newsletter. The Society, now in its 44th year is one of their greatest legacies.

Vida was appointed to the staff of the Zoology Department, University of Canterbury in 1958 and remained there until her retirement in 1996. She was then a Reader (Associate Professor) and had been Dean of Science and Deputy Chair of the University's Academic Administration Committee. She played a significant role in establishing a new Masters course in Environmental Science at Canterbury and spent some years as a member of the South Canterbury Conservation Board.

We are honoured to continue Vida’s passion for Limnology and Environmental Science with her endowment to support postgraduate study.

Science Outreach Programme 
Dr Brian Mason is known world-wide as a geochemist, mineralogist and specialist in the study of meteorites and is considered one of Canterbury University's most famous earth science graduates. 

A prolific publisher, he has published 230 papers and seven books, many of which are recognised texts worldwide. During his career he discovered seven minerals new to science, with two being named after him - Brianite and Stenhuggarite (from the Swedish word stenhuggar, meaning stone mason). Most fittingly, he was commemorated by the naming of an asteroid, 1292 Brianmason, which lies between Mars and Jupiter. In 1982 Dr Mason positively identified the first lunar meteorite - a fragment of the Moon found on Earth.

Dr Mason’s legacy to The University of Canterbury was to fund the Outreach Programme based in UC's College of Science. Established in 1999 this programme encourages young people to study science with the aim of:

  • Encouraging an appreciation of the pivotal place that science holds in modern society.
  • Describing how modern research has the potential to solve some of the big problems of our modern world.
  • Persuading young people that the study of science at UC is rewarding and worthwhile on a personal level as well as in a more altruistic sense.

Supporting the school science teaching community. 

The Erskine Programme
The University of Canterbury is enormously proud of the endowment left by our distinguished alumnus John Angus Erskine. This bequest enables up to 70 visiting international senior academics to lecture at UC each year (Erskine Fellowship).  Around 25 UC academics are also awarded grants which enables them to travel to overseas institutions to enhance their skills and knowledge (Erskine Grants). 

In 1891 Erskine enrolled at Canterbury College. He was surrounded by students of similar calibre, including: Apirana Ngata, the first Maori to graduate from the University of New Zealand; Ernest Rutherford, the world-renowned physicists; and James Hight who returned to lead the College as Rector from 1928-1941.

Erskine passed his final B.A. exams in 1893. With the start of the new term in April 1894, Rutherford and Erskine applied to use a basement room in which to carry out electrical experiments. It was here that Erskine investigated the magnetic screening of high-frequency oscillations by various metals, an offshoot of Rutherford's pioneering work. This gained Erskine an M.A. with double first class honours (the sixth person to achieve this in New Zealand, Rutherford being the fifth), in experimental science and in mathematics & mathematical physics.

When Erskine was awarded the Exhibition of 1851 Scholarship for 1896 he initially chose to go the Frederick-William University of Berlin. In 1897, he and Rutherford holidayed together in Germany and that year and part of 1898 Erskine was at the University of Leipzig. During his spell in Germany, he published several papers in German on magnetic screening and on dielectric constants of liquids at high frequencies.

Erskine then moved to London and spent 1899 and 1900 there, attending classes at University College and translating German works into English. Erskine spent 1901 attending courses in mechanical engineering at Canterbury College and obtained first class certificates in strengths of materials, advanced steam, applied mechanics, and the mechanics of machinery. He then began working in industry, firstly for the General Electric Company in the United States (1903-1904), then as an electrical engineer for the Sulphide Corporation at the Broken Hill mines in Australia (1905-1911), and for General Electric in Australia (1912-1920).

After 1920 he worked as a private consultant playing the stock market with great success, having one of the finest analytical brains in the business. Although he made a great deal of money, he practised frugality, often reporting to his stock market friends when he had found an even cheaper place for lunch.

Jack Erskine died in Melbourne on 27 April 1960; his Will having been written in 1957.

UC Provides highly sought after music scholarships to students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In 2008 and 2014, the Estate of Nice Hewitt and the Estate of John Langdon enable students to further their studies in music and the arts.

The Library
Thanks to the incredible generosity of many donors, UC's library remains current in a very changing environment, allowing our students and academics to enjoy an era of interconnectedness and intellectual opportunity. In order to support learning, teaching, research and innovation, the Estate of Barbara Hale bequeathed a significant sum to enable UC to continue acquiring printed and digital materials for many generations to come.

Mental Health and Nutrition Research
Our Psychology Department has been at the forefront of nutrition-mental health research for more than a decade, including extensive research using micronutrients. Critically acclaimed work highlights the role of nutrition in the expression and treatment of mental illness, from ADHD to depression to stress following natural disasters. To enable this vital work to continue, funds have been generously topped up from Annual Appeal donors and from a legacy gift left by the Estate of Marie Lockie in 2018.

Mathematics and Statistics
Thanks for the amazing generosity of the Estate of Roger Helm, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics received a huge financial boost in 2016 by way of a bequest. The gift has been used to fund a $5,000 annual scholarship and to contribute to 'Maths Craft' - a UC inter-department collaboration that celebrates the links between mathematics and crafting.

Gifts left to the UC Foundation support the work of the University and can come in many sizes and forms. Legacies do not need to be vast sums of money, or large percentages of an estate, and are easy to set up. We are happy to provide wording for your solicitor and much of the work can be done online or in a short consultation with a lawyer.

Should you wish for your gift to be publicly acknowledged, one thousand dollars can provide a named prize or study grant for a year, seven thousand dollars can cover undergraduate fees for a year, and anything above twenty five thousand dollars can be endowed – meaning the fund can be inflation-proofed and remain forever, in perpetuity.

Gifts can be directed to anything you choose, but traditionally they support five key areas:

  • Student support services and scholarships
  • Research and teaching
  • Libraries and collections
  • Buildings and facilities
  • General purposes  

The Alumni & UC Foundation team can help you realise your vision for your gift and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your ideas at any time under no obligation in a place and time that was convenient for you.

Upon informing us of your intention to leave a gift in your Will, you will be invited to become a members of the elite Partners in Excellence Programme, joining other like-minded supporters who have shown foresight in choosing to support the University in this very special way.

When you make a gift to the University of Canterbury Foundation, 100% of your donation goes directly to its intended purpose. The Foundation does not deduct any fees, so as a donor you can be confident that your generosity and foresight will be helping future generation of students and researchers, and will go straight to where it’s needed the most.

Many of our donors choose to leave a specific sum of money or a small share of their estate after friends and family and friends have been looked after. All gifts in Wills are greatly appreciated and are an essential factor for ensuring UC’s good work continues. Every gift makes a difference. 

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It is extremely helpful for us to know if you have left a gift in your Will. This allows us to plan ahead and ensures we can acknowledge your generous support during your lifetime.

You may want to discuss your wishes with your immediate family. We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice when writing or altering your Will.

If you already have a Will, the wording below will help your legal advisor prepare a codicil to reflect any changes you wish to make. The same wording can be incorporated into your bequest clause if you are writing a Will for the first time.

(Delete/alter as appropriate to your situation)“I give the University of Canterbury Foundation the sum of $.....(or a percentage, or the residue of my Estate, or a description of the property or asset given) for the general purposes of the University (or a stipulated purpose) and declare that the receipt of the University of Canterbury Foundation will be a full discharge to my trustee.”

NZ Registered Charity Number: CC27669. 

The University has established the University of Canterbury Foundation, a New Zealand registered charitable trust, as well as the University of Canterbury NZ Trust - UK, and the University of Canterbury Foundation in America Inc. 

The terms of these allow in-country tax benefits for UC's donors living abroad and ensure that the expressed wishes of donors are fulfilled. For futher information on tax status, contact addresses and a list of trustees for each, please click here. 

UC Partners in Excellence

The UC Partners in Excellence Programme has been set up to honour the generosity of individuals and families who plan to leave gifts in their Will to the UC Foundation. When you notify us that we have been remembered in your Will, you automatically become a Partners in Excellence member. This prestigious group of benefactors includes a growing number of like-minded alumni and friends of the university. Members are kept informed of news and activities, and are invited to an exciting calendar of events throughout the year. Being a valued part of the programme means we can thank you in your lifetime and share our mutual passion for higher education. We will, of course, respect your wishes should you prefer to remain anonymous.

If you do decide to share your intentions of leaving a gift in your Will with us, we can work with you to understand more about your wishes. We will use your gift carefully and efficiently so that it has the greatest impact, and give you the opportunity to connect with our current work. 

What can I leave to the University of Canterbury Foundation?
Many of our donors choose to leave a sum of money, however property, insurances, investments and other assets can also be gifted. If you would like to leave money, you have two choices – you can leave a specific sum of money, or you can leave a share of your estate. The advantage of leaving a share of your estate is that the value of your bequest will not be eroded over time with the effects of inflation, which would be the case if you specify a sum. A dollar today may not be worth the same in ten years’ time. You can also choose to leave a residual gift – the balance of your estate once all specific bequests have been allocated.

I am thinking of leaving a scholarship to help a specific group of students. Is this possible?
Yes. You are welcome to identify the areas or purpose you would like to support. Current projects are likely change in the future, and providing the UC Foundation with some flexibility means your gift will be used where the need is greatest. However, if you do wish to choose a specific purpose we can discuss this with you to ensure we can identify a suitable fund or project, and can honour your wishes in the long term. In the case of endowment funds, we have specific wording you can use.

Do I need to draw up a new Will to include my gift?
No. A document called a codicil can be used to add a UC Foundation gift to an existing Will. A legal adviser will need to be consulted for this but it is inexpensive, quick and very easy to do.

Do I have to tell the University about my intentions?
This is at your discretion and we appreciate that making your Will is a very personal decision. We encourage you to notify us of your intentions so that we may express gratitude during your lifeline and include you as a member of our Partners in Excellence Programme. This doesn’t mean you are obligated in any way to leave a gift, and we respect your freedom to change your mind at any time.

Useful Information

Sign up here to receive a copy of our latest UC bequest brochure:

University of Canterbury Foundation
Kathryn Marshall
Email: kathryn.marshall@canterbury.ac.nz
Phone: +64 3 369 5530
Alumni & UC Foundation
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand
If you would prefer us to get in contact with you, please just complete and return this UCF reply slip which provides us with all the necessary information.