A man accused of murdering a woman in east Auckland last night appeared in court today, as police struggle to track down the victim's family in India to give them the bad news.

The woman, 45, died after her throat was apparently cut in a domestic incident shortly before 10pm.

A 47-year-old man appeared in Manukau District Court today charged with her murder and was remanded in custody until March 9.

Police would not disclose what relationship the two had but said they were known to each other.

No one else was being sought in connection with the killing.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Glossop said police were still trying to track down the woman's brother in India.

She would not be named until he had been informed.

An ambulance was called but the woman was dead by the time it arrived. The woman's body remained at the scene overnight and police cars were at the cordoned-off property today.

Neighbours said they were shocked.

One woman told NZPA a "very nice" family lived at the house and would always say hello.

"It is awful," she said.

Neighbours were understood to have gone to the woman's aid when they heard screaming.

The family is believed to have been in New Zealand for several years.

- NZPA