Grace Millane's mother Gillian reveals how she wants people to remember her daughter

An independent and smart woman. That's how Grace Millane's mother Gillian wants the world to remember her daughter four years after her death. 

Grace's murder caused international shock after the British tourist went missing from Auckland in December 2018. Her disappearance sparked a police investigation and her body was found in the Waitākere Ranges a week after she was last seen. 

A 27-year-old man was found guilty of her murder in November 2019 and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years. 

But the Millane family's struggles didn't end there with Grace's father David dying two years later of cancer.

Gillian told Newshub on Tuesday her family is doing okay but the holidays are always difficult.

"We're going okay. It's never going to be right, is it? But we're okay… I'm in a better place than I was because I've got to be," she said. 

"We've just had Grace's anniversary birthday and we've got Christmas coming up. There's always an anniversary. I would be lying if I said things are brilliant because they're not but why would they be? I love Grace immensely and I love David immensely. So somebody not being in your life anymore is really incredibly hard to live with." 

Gillian said she is incredibly grateful for the ongoing support, especially from New Zealanders. 

She hopes people remember Grace as a smart and independent woman. 

"She was an independent woman who wanted to travel the world and see the world and why shouldn't she have done that? 

"It was an individual that decided she wasn't going to. She had an amazing smile and she was an independent woman who loved travelling - that's Grace."

Gillian is about to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to help raise money for White Ribbon and a local hospice in honour of Grace and David.

She said the climb is deeply personal and helps her stay motivated to get out of bed every day. 

"I climb mountains most of my days anyway mentally, so why not climb a real one? So that's what I decided to do."

Gillian has been training for a year for the trek and says it's helped her persevere through some tough times. She said training has been humbling but incredibly rewarding. 

"I never think of me being strong. I just think of me just getting up and coping with what is being thrown at me," she said. 

"People tell me I am [strong] but I don't ever think that I'm really particularly strong. I just think that I get up and I've got a job to do and that's what I've got to do. 

"So I personally don't think I'm strong but I know everybody else does sort of say to me, 'Oh, you're really, really strong' but yeah, I'm a mum and unfortunately, I've had cancer and unfortunately life hasn't been kind to me. But I'm just trying to prove that I can do this - really probably for me, for the cancer side of things and also for David and Grace who would be incredibly proud as well as Michael and Declan [her sons]."