A former Queenstown man who kept his girlfriend's body on ice for nearly a year after she died from a drug overdose in a United States hotel is back in New Zealand.

Sally Royds said from her home in Queenstown yesterday that she was "thrilled" to have Stephen Royds home after serving half of his four-year prison sentence in California, The Otago Daily Times reported.

Royds, 46, was convicted on two drug charges in the Orange County Superior Court in October 2008.

He was arrested in March 2008 at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach, near Los Angeles, after police found him with 54g of cocaine bundled in dozens of small packets.

A search of his room turned up the body of his girlfriend, Monique Felicia Trepp, 33, stuffed in a plastic tub and preserved with dry ice.

Tests later showed she died from a drug overdose.

Royds was not charged for failing to report Ms Trepp's death.

Mrs Royds said that her son had arrived back in New Zealand but had not yet visited Queenstown.

She had not seen her son since January 1997, when she and husband John visited the US.

His real estate agent father, John, is a former Queenstown deputy mayor.