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Dr Adrian Dahood-Fritz, who completed her masters at Kaikōura Ocean Research Institute, was known for having "a smiling face full of energy".
According to Statesman, the 40-year-old scientist and her husband, both from Michigan, US, were asleep below the deck when the fire started early on Monday (local time).
Only one person remained missing on Wednesday (local time) after searchers recovered 33 bodies from the charred underwater wreckage.
In a tribute on Facebook, Kaikōura Ocean Research Institute, where Dahood-Fritz studied, said they were "deeply saddened" by her and her 40-year-old husband's death.
"For her masters, Adrian did wonderful work looking at dusky dolphin feeding behaviour at night," they wrote.
"She also spent many hours recording their daily movements from Haumuri bluffs and by working with Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura to study their distribution.
"She gave a great deal to Kaikoura, always with a smiling face full of energy, before moving on to do incredible work with wildlife and policy in Antarctica."