Police believe the killing of 24-year-old woman in Manurewa was not a random attack.
Arishma Chand died in the early hours of Sunday morning, shortly after coming home from a night out with her boyfriend.
Detective Inspector Gary Lendrum said Ms Chand returned to her Manurewa home at 12:45am.
Soon after her boyfriend left Ms Chand phoned her parents, concerned there was someone outside her home.
When her parents got back to the Maich Road house 20 minutes later they found her dead.
Mr Lendrum said his “gut feeling” was that the attacker was known to Ms Chand because there was no forced entry and the inside of her home was not disturbed.
“We don’t believe that this is a random attack. At this initial stage in our inquiry we believe that the offender was known to the victim in some way.”
Ms Chand’s family and boyfriend were cooperating with the police, Mr Lendrum said.
“This is a tragic death that has torn apart a family and left a young child without their mother.”
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