One of the stars of the global hit Netflix series Making a Murderer has revealed his Kiwi links.

Star defence lawyer Jerry Buting, of the gripping 10-hour true crime series, has family in New Zealand.

He was also travelling New Zealand in 1986 and was on board the passenger ferry Arahura as it answered a mayday call from sinking Russian cruise ship the Mikhail Lermontov.

Listen to Fletch, Vaughan & Megan's full interview with Jerry Buting:

"I've been ... a personal witness to the sinking of the Russian cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov in Marlborough Straits," Buting said via email to NZME radio station ZM.


"I was aboard the ferry Arahura that answered a mayday call and was diverted to rescue hundreds of the elderly Australian passengers on board the ship."

Steven Avery. Photo / Supplied
Steven Avery. Photo / Supplied

The Mikhail Lermontov's last voyage was billed as "The Two-Week Cruise of a Lifetime", but it nearly ended in the loss of hundreds of lives. Twenty fishing boats, the Arahura and a navy craft helped in the rescue. Only one person died, a 33-year-old Russian engineer.

Buting said he had distant cousins in New Zealand so he was well aware where New Zealand was.

Buting gained celebrity status in America as the defence lawyer for Steven Avery - a Wisconsin man who spent 18 years in prison for a violent sexual assault he didn't commit.

Avery was released in 2003 after DNA evidence proved someone else committed the assault.

Brendan Dassey is escorted into court for his sentencing in Manitowoc. Photo / AP
Brendan Dassey is escorted into court for his sentencing in Manitowoc. Photo / AP

Two years later, as he was pursuing a civil lawsuit against the Manitowoc County and officials who had wrongly convicted him, Avery was arrested for the murder of young photographer Teresa Halbach.

The series also follows the trial of Avery's 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey, who implicates himself in Halbach's murder during a questionable interrogation by the local police.

Listen to Fletch, Vaughan and Megan on ZM, weekdays from 6am