Boss mourns 'clever and gorgeous lady'

BRITTA KAPPEL: Police have found her body.
BRITTA KAPPEL: Police have found her body.

A German woman whose body was found in Christchurch's Bottle Lake Forest Park yesterday was a "very clever and gorgeous lady", a friend says.

A search was launched for Britta Kappel, 30, on Tuesday night after she failed to return from a morning bike ride in the Bottle Lake area.

More than 20 staff, including police search and dog teams and Land Search and Rescue volunteers, were involved in the hunt for Kappel.

The teams searched the forest on foot, in vehicles and on bikes, while news of Kappel's disappearance spread quickly online.

Kappel's body was found about 10.30am yesterday, nearly 24 hours after her friends say she left on her bike ride.

Detective Inspector Dave Long said there was no indication of any suspicious circumstances, and the death would be referred to the coroner.

Kappel, a psychologist, had been working as a swimming instructor at Miniswim in North New Brighton.

She was living in Christchurch with her Kiwi partner, Alex, and had struggled to find work in her field.

Miniswim owner Chrissi Tukaki said Kappel had worked for her since arriving in New Zealand three months ago.

"I was in the corner dairy and muttering about not being able to get any staff and she said, ‘I will work for you'. Half an hour later, she came to my house with her CV, and I liked her so much I gave her a job," she said.

Kappel was great with the children and brought "a whole heap of energy" to the job.

"Everyone loved her. I was like her New Zealand mum. We were close.

"She was very adventurous and loved the outdoors. She was the sort of person who would go for a bike ride and pull over and just jump into the sea for a swim.

"She was a very clever and gorgeous lady. We'll all miss her a lot."

Kappel's family in Germany have been notified.

The Press