A 19-year-old male charged over the death of Hawke's Bay man Mark Geoffrey Beale has pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted one charge of theft.

Jonnie Puna, charged with one count of murder and two counts of theft, appeared by audio visual link before Justice Simon France at the High Court in Wellington this morning.

Represented by defence counsel Eric Forster, Puna pleaded guilty to stealing a cellphone and not guilty to stealing a vaping device and the murder of Mr Beale.

Police found Mr Beale on a beach in Haumoana on Waitangi Day, having been assaulted overnight.


The Haumoana resident was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital but died of his injuries the following day.

Puna was arrested on February 24 after more than 35 police pieced together the events of the night of February 5.

Justice France remanded Puna in custody for trial scheduled to start on November 20 2017.