Friends and family are mourning the loss of a ''beautiful soul taken too soon''.
Massey University student Virginia Ford was allegedly murdered on Friday night by a 21-year-old man with whom she lived in Palmerston North.
Miss Ford, 20, attended Kaikorai Valley College, where she completed year 13 studies in 2012.
She subsequently studied early childhood education at Aoraki Polytechnic before embarking on further study at Massey University, in Palmerston North.
Bronwyn Miller, who knew Miss Ford through her association with the Mornington Scout Group, said her death was a tragedy.
''She was enthusiastic, she was always positive, she just had an energy - a wonderful energy,'' Mrs Miller said.
''She was wonderful.''
A spokeswoman for Aoraki Polytechnic said the institution was ''very sorry to hear of the sudden loss''.
Miss Ford's parents have lived in Mornington - where she was raised - for more than a decade.
Her family requested privacy when contacted yesterday.
A tribute page on social media set up following Miss Ford's death attracted more than 260 likes by yesterday evening.
''God has gained another angel far too early, a beautiful soul has now left us for heaven,'' a friend of Miss Ford's posted on social media.
Tributes flowed on the Facebook page ''Light a candle for Virginia''.
Others recalled fond memories of Miss Ford.
''I remember my first day at school waiting in the office and I was so nervous. You welcomed me in the first instance. I remember walking up the hill next to you after you had a bad day at school. Although we didn't really know each other, I have always remembered you and your face. Fly high you beautiful soul. You will be missed,'' a former Kaikorai Valley College pupil posted.
Another wrote: ''You were one of the most kind hearted and genuine people that I ever had the pleasure of meeting. You always put the needs of others in front of your own and you never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Thank you for making school that little more enjoyable! Gone but never ever forgotten, rest in paradise beautiful girl xx''.