A New Zealand man has faced court on murder charges after Australian surfer Sean McKinnon was shot dead while travelling in a campervan with his fiancee.
A man accused of shooting dead Australian surfer and tourist Sean McKinnon has been remanded in custody in a New Zealand court.
The 23-year-old fronted Hamilton District Court on Saturday charged with the murder of Mr McKinnon, who had been travelling the country in a campervan with his fiancee.
Members from the McKinnon family arrived in New Zealand overnight and were present in court when the accused faced a murder charge and other offences including aggravated robbery and making threats to kill.
Mr McKinnon's sister Emmeline McKinnon said the family were heartbroken.
"The worst thing was telling my mother," she told reporters outside court.
"We love him very deeply. We were devastated to hear that his life had been taken from him."
The 23-year-old accused was arrested at a rural Waikato address on Friday night, following a tip-off from the public.
New Zealand Police have confirmed there is an interim suppression order on the 23-year-old's name, at least until his next court appearance on 2 August.
Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said police weren't looking for anyone else in relation to the attack.
"The homicide inquiry still continues, and there is work that will still be undertaken in and around the Waikato district as we work through to reconstruct the full events of this tragic event," he told reporters on Saturday.
Mr McKinnon, 33, was killed while sleeping in the van with his Canadian fiancee Bianca Buckley, in the renowned North Island surfing town of Raglan.
The gunman allegedly ambushed the couple after 2am on Friday, demanding the keys to the campervan before shooting Mr McKinnon.
Ms Buckley managed to escape on foot in the dark to a nearby farm for help while the gunman drove off in the campervan, with Mr McKinnon's body inside, police said.
Mr McKinnon's body was found in the van, which was abandoned in Hamilton, about 80km away.
"Bianca is amazingly resilient and strong. I cannot even begin to understand what she's gone through," Ms McKinnon said of her brother's fiancee.
"She's a really strong young woman. We're just really glad she's alive."
Det Insp Pitkethley said Ms Buckley was shocked and traumatised.
"She is thankful that an arrest within a 24-hour period has occurred and we're working with her and her family, and we'll continue to be in touch with her around her welfare," he said.
Mr McKinnon grew up around Warrnambool in southwest Victoria.
Friend Julian Smith told AAP Mr McKinnon loved to surf big waves along the Victorian coast.
"He was a lovable, knockabout Aussie guy, loved his surfing," Mr Smith said.