Police investigating a homicide in Opotiki on February 19 are looking for a motorist who picked up a hitchhiker in the area that day.

"We believe that a motorist picked up a young Maori man hitchhiking between [Te Kaha] medical centre and Waihau Bay, sometime between midday and 5pm," Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen.

"We'd like to hear from that motorist, or from anyone who saw a hitchhiker fitting that description in the area during that time."

A 27-year-old Opotiki man has been charged with murder over the woman's death, and will reappear in Tauranga High Court on March 14.


"We are extremely grateful to the Opotiki and Te Kaha communities, as well as the wider Eastern Bay of Plenty region, for the assistance and information they have provided the investigation team to date," Standen said.

"This has enabled a quick arrest, which has brought relief to [the victim's] whanau."

Police asked anyone with information to contact Detective Sergeant Darren Thomas at Whakatane Police on 07 308 5255.