A neighbour of 24-year-old Arishma Chand, who died in South Auckland yesterday, says the woman's mother left the house crying "murder, murder".
Ms Chand was killed shortly after arriving home from a party with her boyfriend about 12.45am yesterday.
Her boyfriend left after dropping her at her Manurewa home. Shortly after, she called her parents because she was frightened that someone was outside.
When her parents arrived just 20 minutes later, they found their daughter dead in a bedroom.
A neighbour said Ms Chand's mother came out into the drive crying "murder, murder".
"I opened the door and her mother was crying really loudly," she said.
The neighbour, who wishes to remain anonymous, has shared Diwali Festivals and childrens' birthdays with the family.
"They were lovely persons - it's very sad."
The neighbour said she did not feel safe in her home.
"It was a tough night, when those things happen you get scared, you don't know what's going to happen next."
Another neighbour, Gordon Gallop, was shaken to hear the death was so close to home.
"We always said hello over the fence - she was a really friendly lady, Mr Gallop said.
Ms Chand was involved in her community and always invited the neighbours over for special events, he said.
"It's been a very big shock to us but we still feel very safe living here.
"It's a sad situation," Mr Gallop said.
Detective Inspector Gary Lendrum said it was likely Ms Chand knew the attacker and let them into the house.
There was no sign of forced entry into the address and the interior had not been disturbed in any way, he said.
Ms Chand, a childcare worker, has been separated from her ex-husband for a number of years and their child was in his custody over the weekend and not present during the killing, he said.
Mr Lendrum would not discuss whether her current relationship has ever been violent.
But, he said, Ms Chand's partner left the address after dropping her home, and had been cooperative with police.
Mr Lendrum stressed that this was likely a targeted attack.
"I don't believe that this is a random attack, I believe that the answer is a lot closer to home and I don't think the community needs to be fearful that there is an intruder out there that is wandering around that area," he said.
No one has been arrested yet.
Police will be trawling CCTV footage from local businesses over the next few days and urges anyone who may have noticed anything that night to contact them.
Ms Chand's three-year-old daughter was being looked after by her ex-husband at the time.
Police want to hear from anyone who was in the Maich Road area between 12am and 1am on Sunday and who may have seen something suspicious.