But the defence claims the 27-year-old "freaked out" after an accidental death during sex.
The killer stood emotionless as the verdict was read out and he was remanded to custody until his sentencing on February 21.
The judge discharged them all from sitting on a jury for the next seven years.
Within days of her disappearance, police had identified a suspect, spoken to him and, unbeknownst to the killer, tracked his movements by trawling through CCTV evidence.
"Grace was a attractive, talented, loving daughter". After the verdict was delivered both parents wept in the public gallery before making their way outside the court holding hands to deliver an emotional statement.
After the trial, Millane's parents Gillian and David tearfully told media the verdict was welcomed by friends and family alike.
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"It will not reduce the pain and suffering we have had to endure over the past year".
The lives of a family ripped apart in a "barbaric way" by a lying killer received justice today as the jury returned a guilty verdict for the man accused of murdering Grace Millane.
"Grace was our sunshine and she will be missed forever", Millane's father told reporters after her killer was convicted.
David thanked the NZ police, Detective inspector Scott Beard, the Crown prosecution team and the media.
The suspect has not been named in accordance with New Zealand law. I can not express our gratitude enough for all the gifts and kindness we have received over the past year.
The trial heard that the killer was initially interviewed by police because he left a comment on one of Ms Millane's Facebook photos.
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It happened either the night before or in the early hours of December 2nd - her 22nd birthday.
Video footage from the elevator of her exiting on the third floor marked the last recorded time Ms Millane was seen alive.
Alcohol has been considered as a factor in the case, with Justice Moore on Friday noting that the pair did not consume any food during their date but adding that intoxication was not a defence to murder. Three chats were recovered from the BDSM online app Whiplr, which she was a member of, and in one messaging platform she reportedly outlined her interest in BDSM and other forms of sex.
Grace was smiling as she walked into the building in her black dress and converse shoes, before the pair enter the lift to the defendant's apartment.
Her body was found over a week later stuffed into a suitcase and buried in a shallow grave. Either Ms Millane was dead when they were taken, or he had searched for the Waitākere Ranges, where he buried her body, while she was still living - thus showing he planned to kill her.
"This jury having found you guilty of the murder of Grace Emmie Rose Millane, you are convicted", Justice Simon Moore told him. The man will likely face a mandatory life sentence, which comes with a minimum 10-year non-parole period.
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