A gifted academic who grew up in Karori has died suddenly in London, devastating her family.

Dr Amanda (Mandy) Jane Rohloff, 30, died on December 7 and her body was returned home to Wellington on Christmas Eve.

It's not yet clear why Dr Rohloff died, but she suffered from epilepsy.

Her grief-stricken family were planning a service on Saturday.


Father Maurie Rohloff said his daughter was a "rising star in sociology" who was writing a book on the development of global warming as a social problem.

She had also written two book chapters and had work published in journals before becoming a postdoctoral research fellow at Brunel University, west London.

She studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in anthropology, criminology and sociology at Victoria University in Wellington, graduating in 2005. She went on to achieve first class honours in sociology.

She won a travelling scholarship, an overseas research student award and was the first ever recipient of the Peter Caws prize at Brunel University.

Her thesis examined climate change and "moral panic", and forms the basis of her book.

"She was ahead of her time," her father said.

Friend Philippa Chandler said in the Guardian that Dr Rohloff generated brilliant ideas and put in the hard graft to see them come to fruition.

Mr Rohloff said he and his wife Judy were very proud of their daughter. He said Christmas was not cancelled, it would just be different.

"It's a difficult time ... We look forward to being with her once again."

An inquest would be held into Dr Rohloff's death.