Vigil held for Blessie

Grieving relatives are keeping vigil over Blesilda Gotingco who was cremated today after being murdered in Auckland's North Shore.

Family and friends travelled from overseas to attend today's service, during which Gotingco's ashes were taken to her local church, St Mary's in Northcote.

She will be farewelled at a requiem mass on Thursday and in the meantime members of the public are invited to pay their respects at the church as part of the 'novena' - a tradition of mourning for nine days.

The 56-year-old mother-of-three left work in central Auckland on the night of Saturday May 24 but never made it to her home in Birkdale. Her body was discovered at the Birkdale-Glenfield cemetery two days later. A 27-year-old man has been charged with her murder.

Representatives from the Filipino embassy were among those at the church today to offer their condolences.

Consul-general Paulo Garcia said the murder came as a "huge shock to the growing Filipino community in New Zealand".

"It was tragic in nature," he said. "It was unpredictable. It shows you that it could happen anywhere."

Garcia said Gotingco's relatives had flown over from the Philippines, America, Australia and other countries.

St Mary's priest Father Craig Dunford said the death had a huge impact on the parish and the broader community.

"It's strongly felt," he said. "We saw that at the march last Saturday night. The outpouring of sympathy for the family has been enormous." The funeral is being held at 1pm on Thursday.

Auckland Now