The sudden death of an elderly woman at a Christchurch flat yesterday is not suspicious, police confirmed this afternoon.

Police were called to a unit in Brookside Tce just before 6pm yesterday and found the woman, understood to have been in her 80s.

This morning police said they were making inquiries to establish the cause of death, which they say is "unexplained".

A large cordon had surrounded the property and officers were seen searching a creek running in front of it.

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However, police this afternoon have confirmed that the death is not suspicious.

It has been referred to the coroner.

One neighbour, who only wished to be identified as Paul, said the death has been upsetting for locals.

"It's not very nice at all," he said.

He got home about 5.30pm to "a swarm of police and ambulances".

The neighbour said the woman lived alone and that it was a quiet area.