The University of Canterbury has put support services in place, saying it understands one of its students has died, however, it is waiting confirmation from police.
Police were called to the scene of the "unexplained death" around 4am on Matipo Street in Riccarton this morning.
Part of the street was cordoned off while police examined the scene, and medical supplies were seen on the road near a police tent set up at the site.
In a statement, the university said support had been offered to those immediately impacted by the student's death.
Wider support was in place for the university community, and students were urged to contact student care services, it said.
The university offered its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
In a statement this afternoon, police said they were aware of the deep sense of grief in the Christchurch community following the death.
"We know that people have questions about what has happened, and police are working hard to establish the circumstances that led to the death," police said.
"While the investigation is underway we're limited in what detail we can provide."
When there was more information to share, an update would be issued proactively, police said.
Peter Simmonds, chairperson of the Middleton-Matipo Community Association, was at the police cordon earlier on Tuesday.
There had been a recent rise in crime in the area and people were living in fear, he said.
Simmonds said he wanted to see a more visible police presence in the area.
Wharenui School, which is on Matipo Street, was still open but parents had been asked to take their children into the grounds via Rex Street or Blenheim Road.