The woman who died on New Year's Day after an incident while out horse riding has been named.

She was Ingrid Louise De Hoedt, 54, of Karaka.

De Hoedt disappeared on January 1 while out riding her horse in the Waiuku Forest, south of Auckland.

She was reported missing at 3.50pm and her body was found by a police search and rescue team at 8.10pm.

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De Hoedt's death will be referred to the coroner and police have not released any further information about the circumstances other than to say they believe it was a "horse-riding incident".

De Hoedt is survived by her husband Ross and three children.

A death notice placed in the Herald for De Hoedt said she died "doing what she loved" and she would be "sorely missed".

Another described her as "a larger-than-life character, a one-off".

"She was loved so much," it said.

Tributes were also posted online by friends.

"She was an inspiration, a go getter and I loved her company," said Carol Quickfall.

"Another special star in the sky."

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Family friends wrote: "You blazed like a comet through our world and brightened every life you touched".

"Strong, wild, loyal, compassionate, intelligent, patriotic and a redoubtable pioneer.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Ross, [the children], [her sister] Rosemary and all that knew and loved her during this sad time.

"May you ride with the Great Spirit across the heavens and continue to protect those you loved."

It is understood De Hoedt was involved in breeding Connemara ponies.

De Hoedt, originally from Ireland, went to Dublin's Trinity Medical School in the 1980s and was also remembered by her fellow students and colleagues.

"Ingrid had a powerful personality and a sense of fun that made her a much loved and appreciated member of our medical year," said Rachael Cullivan from Ireland.

"I so enjoyed catching up with her at our recent reunion - her enthusiasm for the whole event was infectious and I was impressed by how much she had experienced and achieved since the day we tossed those mortar boards into the air from the steps at Trinity.

"She also spoke of how very much she loved her life and family and how proud she was of her children.

"I was fortunate enough to see some of her photos which she was delighted to show and I hope very many memories of happy moments and events bring you some comfort at this unbelievably sad time."

Sean Daly also recalled studying with De Hoedt.

"Ingrid was my chemistry partner in Med school and was such fun," he said

"I believe we became very good friends although lost contact when we qualified. I found her again via the internet thru a Connemara pony thread and was delighted to see her again in September.

"In many ways it made the reunion very special to see her again. I am so sad to hear the tragic news of her death."

De Hoedt's funeral will be held on Wednesday in West Auckland.

Her family have been contacted for comment.