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Colombian woman Juliana Cayena Bonilla-Herrera was allegedly murdered inside her flat on Grove Rd, Addington, on Saturday night.
It is understood Bonilla-Herrera's death was extremely violent, with her allegedly having been restrained and suffering knife wounds.
Friends had been worried that they had not heard from her and visited her flat on Saturday night.
After finding lights on and her car parked in the driveway, they phoned police.
While still on the line to police, they discovered Bonilla-Herrera's body.
Detective Inspector Scott Anderson, the officer in charge of homicide investigation Operation Grove, said that ideally it would been police officers who entered the property.
However, he told the Herald he was comfortable with how the circumstances played out that night.
A 35-year-old man has been charged with Bonilla-Herrera's murder and appeared at Christchurch District Court on Wednesday.
He has been granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody without plea to the High Court on February 18.
A relative said a lot of people admired Bonilla-Herrera for her "value" and because she decided to make her life in New Zealand.
She moved here about 10 years ago to study and fell in love with the country.
"Although you were far from your loved ones you always had a positive and strong attitude facing challenges," her relative wrote on a social media tribute.
"You were not only a great professional but a tireless warrior.
"You taught us that there are no impossible goals. You lived to the fullest enjoying this world with a lot of attitude full of affection towards others and always being a great daughter, sister and friend.
"I join the pain of your mother, your brothers and other relatives. We will always remember you."
- By Kurt Bayer