Twenty years have passed since Kayo Matsuzawa was murdered and her killer is yet to be caught, however, detectives investigating the killing have a new lead.

It was revealed on TVNZ's Cold Case that unknown male DNA was located under Matsuzawa's fingernails, a key bit of evidence that was missed in 1998.

A Japanese tourist, Matsuzawa came to New Zealand in 1997 to study in Christchurch and on September 11, 1998, she came to Auckland to explore the city.

Matsuzawa checked into a backpackers on Fort St before heading out, never to return.


Eleven days later her naked and decomposing body was discovered in a small room off the stairwell in the Centrecourt Building on Queen St.

Technology at the time of her death meant the DNA under her fingernails went unnoticed but with modern advancements, police were able to find new evidence.

Detectives used a YSTR test, which only searches for male Y chromosome cells, and determined that the DNA under her fingernails was not Matsuzawa's.

Police believe she was only in Auckland for several hours before meeting her killer and the last sighting of her was from a camera outside the BNZ on Queen St.

The last sighting was shortly after Matsuzawa checked into the backpackers on Fort St, both the bank and backpackers are close to the place her body was found.

Police also believe she may have been targeted by the man she met on the afternoon of the 11th and it's possible he spiked her drink.

Before her death, she was seen wearing black bootleg pants, a black jacket, black shoes and carrying a backpack.

Matsuzawa also had crescent-shaped earrings and a small delicate gold ring with a single pink stone.

Her clothes and jewellery were never discovered but her passport was recovered from a public rubbish bin on the corner of Albert St and Swanson St.

Kayo Matsuzawa's body was found in the Centrecourt Building in Queen St. Photo / Supplied
Kayo Matsuzawa's body was found in the Centrecourt Building in Queen St. Photo / Supplied

If you have any information in relation to her belongings, or if the predatory behaviour sounds familiar, police would like to speak to you.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the police or call Cold Case on 0800 2653 2273 (0800 COLD CASE).