A married couple who moved to New Zealand from India for a better life were fatally stabbed in their Epsom home and their engineering graduate son is fighting for his life in hospital.
AUT lecturer Ranjana Gupta told the Herald she was shocked to learn her former neighbours were both dead.
"Who would kill them? I cannot understand that. There has to be some kind of motive behind the killing."
Emergency services rushed to the property at the intersection of The Drive and Green Lane West after being alerted to the incident about 11.30am.
They found two people with critical injuries who died despite paramedics' attempts to save them. A critically injured man was also discovered at the house and taken to Auckland City Hospital where he remained last night.
A fourth person – who is believed to be a passerby who tried to intervene – suffered superficial injuries and was able to speak to police.
Police confirmed yesterday they were investigating a double homicide and the individuals involved in the tragedy are known to each other, Detective Inspector Scott Beard said.
"This was not a random attack."
Gupta said she and her husband own the property next to where the professional couple were slain.
She was friends with the dead woman, who was a "good lady" and helpful.
The woman – who worked at the University of Auckland - would sometimes visit Gupta's house to help with computer problems.
It's understood the woman's husband worked at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.
The couple immigrated to New Zealand from the Indian state of Goa and moved into the block of flats about 2007 because it was in zone for Auckland Grammar where their son attended.
"She was a very good lady," Gupta said.
"They are Christian; they used to go to church. They were very God fearing. They were very humble sort of people. They were very helpful as well. They used to look after our property when we're not there."
She received a call yesterday from her son telling her of the deaths, Gupta said.
"To be honest it's shocking. I cannot see any reason why they would kill them. It's just beyond my thinking."
She last saw the woman at the Royal Oak Pak'nSave supermarket in February.
The woman told Gupta her son – who had lived with the couple - had graduated from Massey University engineering school and started his career.
She also asked Gupta to arrange to have trees hanging over their boundary trimmed, because the woman was worried the foliage could damage a fence.
Gupta agreed and tree cutters were dispatched to the property yesterday morning.
Gupta's son told the Herald a woman, believed to be the one who died, spoke with the tree cutters about 10am. She was accompanied by a younger man who said he'd take care of the branches.
He visited the property to check on the work about 11am and said there was no sign of any trouble or disturbance, Gupta's son said.
"We left after about five minutes then half an hour later I got a call from our tenants saying, 'Something's happened next door, that lady that you guys know well, she's been stabbed'.
"As far as I can tell [the woman] was happy at 10 o'clock, she spoke to the tree guy and there was a young guy who offered to throw the branches over and I don't know what's happened during the next hour and a half.
"I can't believe it actually, especially in Epsom. It's just crazy."
Neighbours were equally stunned - and frightened, although Beard told media police weren't looking for anyone else in relation to the double killing and police would be providing reassurance while canvassing the community.
Autopsy examinations of the couple will take place today.
"I'm shocked," said one of the people last night near the scene, where police officers in boiler suits were seen coming and going and detectives gathered nearby.
"Everything's normally so quiet here."
Reva Kaushal was alerted to the tragedy two doors down when her husband saw multiple police cars outside and "an old man with a bandage on his hand".
"I'm really shocked ... and I'm a bit scared."
Another neighbour, Audrey Zhao, said she was relieved her kids, aged 6 and 9, were with her.
"Today is a teacher-only day, which is so lucky. I'm definitely nervous because it's so close to us."
The deaths were "shocking and tragic for our community", Epsom MP David Seymour said.
"There will no doubt be a lot of questions, and our community will want and deserve to know how and why this happened. In the meantime we need to respect the appropriate processes."