A convicted murderer deported from Australia after serving part of his life sentence for killing his girlfriend and putting her into a steel drum is now living in Whangarei.

Karl Michael Dawson murdered Natasha Reid, 23, in the couple's Brisbane apartment in 2002, stuffed her body in a drum and took it to Sydney where it was found in his garage.

He used an axe to kill Reid, a prostitute who worked in Sydney and returned to Brisbane to spend the weekends with Dawson and their then 3-year-old son.

Queensland police launched an investigation when they discovered a large bloodstain in the couple's Brisbane apartment after Reid's mother reported her missing.

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Police in Sydney found her body after Dawson's flatmates reported they were worried about the smell coming from the drum in the garage.

Dawson was jailed for life by the Supreme Court in Brisbane in late 2003.

New Zealand's Corrections Department this week confirmed Dawson was deported to New Zealand in June and has been living in Whangarei since but refused to disclose the location or the conditions of his release.

Those conditions were approved by Judge Keith de Ridder in the Whangarei District Court this week.

Queensland Corrective Services and the Parole Board Queensland said legislation prevented them from releasing information about individual prisoners, whether they were in custody or on parole.

Dawson is subject to a returning offender order, which enables Corrections NZ to manage and monitor certain offenders returning from overseas.

The supervision regime came into effect in 2015 and applies to eligible offenders who have served a term or terms of imprisonment of more than one year in another country.

Corrections northern region operations director Lynette Cave said the department worked alongside police, Customs and the Ministry of Social Development to help returning offenders settle into life in New Zealand. This includes helping with accommodation, employment, establishing bank accounts and getting access to benefits.

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She said Dawson has support systems in Whangarei to help with his reintegration.
His parents are understood to live in Whangarei.

Cave said his supervision was similar to parole in that it was made up of a range of conditions he must abide by, and required him to report as instructed to a probation officer.

"It's our role to ensure that sentences and orders are managed appropriately and see that offenders have access to reintegration support. Public safety is our top priority," she said.

On whether Corrections has notified the public of Dawson's deportation and arrival in Whangarei, Cave said that was only done when a child sex offender returned to a community.

Before a returning offender arrived back in New Zealand, she said, Corrections received a range of information about the individual from Australian authorities, which was then used to assess the person for a returning offender order.