The New Zealand Defence Force has appeared in court over the death of Napier sailor Zachary Yarwood during a dive exercise in 2019.

Navy able communications technician Yarwood, 23, died after a night-time dive at the Devonport Naval Base.

He was diving in about six to eight metres of water at about 10pm on March 25 during advanced dive training.

WorkSafe filed one representative charge against NZDF under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

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The charge alleges failures exposed five other sailors to risk of death or serious injury during the same exercise.

The Defence Force did not enter a plea on Wednesday and the case was adjourned until July 21.

A police inquiry into Yarwood's death continues. A driven young man, Yarwood had a collection of medals including the NZSOM, NZGSM and NZDSM.