The body of Grace Millane has been formally identified.

The 22-year-old's body has been returned to her family and they are in the process of organising to take her home in the next few days.

Police said work was continuing to piece together exactly what happened to Millane as they build a timeline of the circumstances of her murder.

The British backpacker was last seen alive on December 1, the day before her 22nd birthday.


Her body was eventually found in bush on the side of Scenic Drive in the Waitākere Ranges on Sunday.

The accused, a 26-year-old man, was arrested and charged with her murder, appearing in court on Monday.

Millane, of Essex, who recently graduated from university, came to New Zealand as part of a year-long solo OE.

She arrived in Auckland just days before she was killed.

While Millane's body is soon to be returned to her home country, police are still working hard to determine the events that ultimately led to her death.

Yesterday, police said there had been a great deal of public speculation about what happened to Grace, but they confirmed her body was intact when it was recovered.

Police also announced they were looking for a shovel believed to be related to the inquiry.

Police are seeking sightings of a red shovel.
Police are seeking sightings of a red shovel.

Detectives said they wanted to hear from anyone who may have found the shovel - described as an "Atlas Trade Hardwood Long Handle Round Mouth Shovel" - any time after Monday, December 3.


Detective Inspector Scott Beard said: "At this point we don't know where this item is. It could be anywhere between the Scenic Drive and central Auckland areas".

"Someone may have come across it, picked it up and taken it home. We need to speak to that person or anyone who has seen it."

Today Beard said calls continue to come into the 0800 number with information from the public, but only a few calls were in relation to the shovel they are seeking.

A photograph of a similar shovel was released by police yesterday.

"We still need to hear from anyone who may have come across the shovel, or anyone who has picked it up and taken it home," Beard said.

Yesterday, the British backpacker's father, David Millane, and his brother joined police at the site in the Waitākere Ranges to pay their respects.

The private blessing was the first time the Millane family have appeared in public since the discovery of Grace's body, a week after she was reported missing.

The blessing came as people across the world mourn Grace's death and look to understand the details of her alleged murder.

Online tributes have been matched with an outpouring of public mourning, with many vigils and walks planned across the country in memory of Millane - the first which took place in Queenstown last night.

Tonight many more people will pay their respects as they gather under candlelight in Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.