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Her partner Jack Liu, listed on court documents under his full name, Yun Qing Liu, was assisted in the North Shore District Court dock by a Mandarin interpreter.
The 57-year-old's lawyer Ian Tucker did not seek name suppression for Liu, nor did he ask for bail today. But he indicated he would make a bail application soon.
Judge Roy Wade remanded Liu in custody until April 30 when he will appear in the High Court at Auckland.
The judge told Mr Tucker he could ask for the matter to be called earlier if he wished to apply for bail earlier.
Liu was processed in the Henderson police station this morning.
Ms Chen's brothers have travelled from China and attended the court appearance this afternoon, flanked by police staff.
Ms Chen, 44, was last seen on November 5, 2012, after leaving the accountancy firm she worked at and driving home.
Police found her body late last month after a contractor mowing the lawns at Totaravale Reserve found a ribcage and skull in a drain.
Most of the rest of Ms Chen's remains were found nearby.
Cissy Chen's brother Philip Chen said outside court today "is a really great day''.
"All of the hard work and effort that the police have put in is worth it. Finally my sister Cissy's soul can rest in peace.
"I would like to thank the people that assisted the police investigation and the lawn (mower) man who found Cissy's body.''
"The year and a half since Cissy disappeared has put a great stress on our family. It's hard to describe the pain we have been through. This has been a very difficult year for our (79-year-old) father,'' he said.
"As brothers and sisters we have always had a strong bond and now losing our only sister is really hard to accept.
"Even now we are still quite lost at times. New Zealand is such a peaceful and beautiful country. Cissy loved New Zealand very much and we decided we will bury her in New Zealand on the North Shore.
"Cissy always told me she was happy to emigrate and live and work her and she said after she came here it changed her life. She liked (it) here very much and she always told me that.
"We are thankful for Cissy's friends and work friends, who support us, and to the New Zealand public.
"Cissy has always been a very kind and gentle person and this has been very very hard for our family to take in. We really miss her very much.''
Mr Chen, who was accompanied by his brother Peter, thanked the media for reporting the case.
- By Jimmy Ellingham and Anna Leask