Nicky Tuxford was a "beautiful young woman" with a huge smile and a "wonderful giggle".
Tuxford was embarking on a new career as a life coach and spiritual guide when she was killed in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale three weeks ago.
Twenty-seven-year-old Nicole Marie Tuxford, known to friends and family as Nicky, had been training for two years with the Phoenix Light Foundation to become a life coach.
Foundation director Phyllis Brown said she had known Tuxford for four years after she began coming to classes as a student "to explore her own intuitive gift and skills".
"She was a lovely young woman with an amazing smile and a wonderful giggle."
Tuxford was hoping to become someone who could help others find themselves, a passion she had discovered she wanted to pursue in recent years, Brown said.
"She threw herself into it, this self-healing process."
An "intensely private" woman, Tuxford was very close with her "lovely" family but did not reveal too much about her inner self, Brown said.
"Her personal life was very much her own thing and we didn't cross those boundaries with her."
Brown said she and the other teachers at the Foundation were shocked by what had happened and their thoughts went out to Tuxford's family and friends.
In a statement released earlier today, Tuxford's family said they were broken by the loss of their beloved daughter, sister and partner.
"Born and bred in Dunedin, she moved to Christchurch to pursue her professional career after she finished high school.
"Nicky was a funny, bubbly character who lit up a room with her personality and made other people laugh.
"She loved people and had ambitions to work as a counsellor so she could help others."
A 54-year-old man charged with murder appeared before a closed sitting of the High Court via video-link this morning.
He also faces two charges of sexual violation and stealing a vehicle.
Judge Gerald Nation continued the defendant's interim name suppression, saying it was important for a fair trial.
The man has been remanded in custody until June 29.