Police made another arrest in Kaitaia on Friday, in the course of the investigation into the murder of 35-year-old Lee Rata.
A 32-year-old man was arrested at his home on charges of supplying methamphetamine and possession of a precursor. He was remanded in custody without plea, to appear in the Kaitaia District Court on January 28.
Detective Inspector Kevin Burke, who is heading the inquiry into Mr Rata's death, said the arrest was not connected with that offence but had been made in the course of the inquiry. The same went for three Mongrel Mob members who were arrested on drug and other charges in Moerewa last week (Murder inquiry moves to Moerewa, page 3).
Detective Inspector Burke said yesterday that the murder inquiry was on-going, although only one arrest had been made so far. (A Kaitaia man in his 20s, who has been granted interim name suppression, was arrested last week and charged with murder, and was remanded in custody to appear in the High Court at Whangarei on February 4).
Police, he added, still believed that more than one person had been involved in Mr Rata's death, and officers were continuing to talk to witnesses who were in Bonnetts Road, and/or were at the wedding function that Mr Rata had attended earlier on New Year's Eve, to determine precisely who was where and what had happened.
He repeated his request for anyone who had any information, however minor it might appear, and who had not yet spoken to police to call the inquiry team at the Kaitaia station on (09) 408-6500.
A member of the public found Mr Rata, who was grievously injured, in Bonnetts Road, shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve. He died the following day at Whangarei Hospital.
A givealittle page set up for the dead man's family (www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help4Lee) had as of yesterday raised $2650.