After nearly 11 hours of deliberation, the jury returned at 10pm to convict Gilling - 19 months after the murder of gay man Stanley Waipouri, 39.
Gilling had Mr Waipouri's blood on his hands and clothes when police found Mr Waipouri dead in his blood-spattered and smeared Rangitikei Street flat in December, 2006.
Ashley Arnopp was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 15 years after pleading guilty when he stood trial with Gilling in November, last year.
But the jury in that trial could not reach a verdict for Gilling and his retrial began last week.
He will be sentenced in the High Court on September 12.
In one of her few appearances during the trial, Gilling's mother called out "love you son" before the jury retired. She did not return to hear the final verdict.
But the relief was palpable among Mr Waipouri's family last night as they broke down in tears.
"My ticker's shaking . . . I'm not going to work tomorrow," relative Ariki Shortland said.
"Huge relief, it's been 16 months coming," long time friend Phil Penwarden said.
"We were just dumb-struck at the last trial."
Sister Joan Waipouri said she started to get nervous waiting for the verdict, and thought if guilty was not an option, another hung jury would be better than an acquittal.
"We had to leave it up to the powers that be, the jury. It will never be closed, not for us, but it's definitely time for us to get on with it."