A hearing date for a man alleged to have made an emergency call claiming he had blown his ex-wife's head off and put her body in the boot of his car will be set later this month.

Robert Harold Moyer, 66, of Kutarere, denies making a hoax call on New Year's Day about an alleged fatal shooting that led to a $26,000 armed offenders squad callout.

Two police helicopters were deployed from Taupo and Tauranga immediately following the call, only to find that no violent acts had taken place.

Moyer's appearance was excused at a pre-trial conference at Whakatane District Court on Wednesday before Judge Louis Bidois.

It was alleged that Moyer made two 111 calls on January 1, and that he said he had shot his partner during an argument and that her body was in the boot of his car.

Defence lawyer Roger Gowing said Moyer admitted making one of the calls, but not the call about the shooting. The defence position was one of mistaken identity.

Mr Gowing said Moyer was seeking a psychiatric assessment.

Prosecutor Peter Rankin indicated evidence would be heard from 12 prosecution witnesses - and there was also the matter of the $26,000 bill.

Judge Bidois remanded Moyer back to a registrar's list on March 23 to fix a hearing date. A tape of the emergency call will be played at the hearing.

Moyer is not required to attend at the next date.

- NZPA