The identity of a Kawerau man accused of murder after a woman died from critical injuries on Saturday afternoon must be kept secret for now.
The man, 20, who appeared in the Tauranga District Court today faced a charge of murdering 49-year-old Michelle Kaipara in Kawerau on September 25.
The defendant, who appeared in court by an audio link from the Rotorua police remand hub, is also charged with assaulting a police constable with intent to obstruct him.
The assault charge attracts a maximum penalty of three years in prison, and the murder charge is a life imprisonment offence.
Emergency services were called to a Kawerau property around 12.40pm on Saturday, police earlier said.
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Rawlinson said Kaipara, of Kawerau, was found with critical injuries and died a short time later.
"Police extend our sympathies to Michelle's loved ones at this difficult
time. A homicide investigation into the circumstances of her death is ongoing."
Duty lawyer Craig Horsley successfully sought interim name suppression.
Horsley told Judge Paul Geoghegan the next step in the process was for him to seek a mental health fitness to stand trial report on the defendant.
Crown prosecutor Duncan McWilliam did not oppose interim suppression orders being imposed.
Judge Geoghegan granted the interim suppression orders as requested and remanded the defendant until his next appearance on October 6 in the High Court at Tauranga.
The judge said the suppression orders would be reviewed at that court appearance.
The deceased's family provided a written statement to the media via the police.
Their statement reads: "Our whānau is devastated. Michelle was the epitome of joy and love, and she will be sorely missed. Her memory lives on in her tamariki, who are suffering severely at this time.
"We send our heartfelt thanks to each and every person for the outpouring of
love, acts of kindness, and empathy shown to our whānau.
"We grieve with you as we remember the beautiful lady Michelle was and the lovely memories she's left etched on our minds and in our hearts.
"A funeral service will be held this week in Te Teko to farewell our darling
mother, sister, daughter, cousin, aunty, niece and friend. "
Details would be available on the Te Tangi Pānui Page on Facebook, the statement said.