Police are continuing to hunt for the armed intruder who opened fire in a Hamilton home killing a young chef and wounding his girlfriend and another man.

Robert Nelson, 23, is believed to have died shielding his partner in bed during the shooting early yesterday morning at a house in Matthews Cres, Melville.

His girlfriend Kahlee Marfell received gunshot wounds and was in a serious but stable condition at Waikato Hospital on Sunday.

Another man was also shot and was in a critical condition in hospital.

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A police spokeswoman this morning said there was no update on who the offenders were or what the motives were.

Their inquiries were "ongoing", she said.

Robert Nelson, 23, with his partner Kahlee. Photo / supplied
Robert Nelson, 23, with his partner Kahlee. Photo / supplied

A Givealittle page had raised nearly $3500 for the grieving family of Nelson, described as a "kind soul, a beloved son, brother and friend".

Nelson's mother Dannette Vrijs told to the Herald she was trying to grasp the awful fact she has lost her "hard-working and fun-loving" son forever.

"I am a mother trying to get through the idea of losing my eldest son,"

Nelson worked at Keystone Bar and Restaurant on Victoria St South in Hamilton as a chef.

His mother said he and Kahlee had been together for the past four years and were good for each other.

"They had the odd fight like couples do."

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Vrijs was in Hamilton being supported by members of her whānau.

She had been told her son's body was being taken to Auckland for a post-mortem examination.

Nelson was a "hard-working and fun-loving" man and this tragic event had "just wasted his life", Vrijs said.

"He had so much potential. He loved to cook. He was really outgoing."

Armed police at the scene of a shooting on Matthews Cres, Hamilton. Photo / supplied
Armed police at the scene of a shooting on Matthews Cres, Hamilton. Photo / supplied

Aimee Laing, who worked with Nelson, spoke to the Herald on behalf of the restaurant's staff.

Laing said Nelson had worked there for two years with three of his family members.

"His mum Dannette worked in the kitchen too, [sister] Erin worked casually in front of house and his brother Koenraad was a chef."

Laing has set up the Givealittle page to raise money for Nelson's funeral costs.

"On top of this heartbreaking loss, Rob's family is not a position to pay for a funeral, and not the kind of send-off such heroism deserves," the Givealittle page said.

"They have applied for a grant but there's no guarantee this will be approved."

The page has already raised more than $2000 of the $5000 goal.

Nelson was just getting ready to start his apprenticeship to become a qualified chef.

"He loved cooking," Laing said.

"During his shift it wouldn't matter if he was five hours or five minutes in, when he saw you he always had a smile."

His sister Erin said they believed the attack was random or a case of mistaken identity by a gang. She stressed her brother was an "innocent person caught in the crossfire".

"Somebody arrived to the house and attacked about four people inside. There was another person holed up inside who wasn't injured," she said.

Her brother had died "covering his girlfriend" from the bullets, Erin said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson said initial inquiries suggested the house was targeted. There was no indication the wider public was at risk.

"It is not yet known what the motive was behind this incident and we are keeping an open mind at this early stage in the investigation," Patterson said.

Social media tributes for the 23-year-old were posted online after the news of his death.

Nadine Lovini said the death was another tragedy to hit their family.

Karen Devin Tamzyn said her thoughts were with Nelson's family and Kahlee.

"Stay strong beautiful girl we love you."

Stormforce Gym, of which Nelson was a member, said the world would never be the same without Nelson.

"It is with deep sadness and regret that this horrible tragedy has happened to one of our Stormforce boys.

"To his immediate family, and to his many friends, our thoughts prayers and love go out to you all at this sad time. RIP Rob, the world will never be the same without you mate."