Northland gang member Kimble Moore was shot in the back three times by a man he knew before his body was buried in a shallow grave, a High Court jury has heard.

Moore, a 48-year-old patched member of the Tribesmen gang from Waipapakauri in the Far North, was reported missing from Taipa by his partner in March 2016. His body was found six months later in the Fairburn area.

The trial of a gang member charged with his murder began before Justice Mathew Downs in the High Court at Whangārei on Monday. The man has interim name suppression which will lapse at 5pm on Tuesday unless he decides to appeal.

Crown prosecutor Mike Smith told a jury of eight women and three men police took steps to calm tension between different gangs in the days and weeks leading up to Moore's disappearance.

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Moore was involved in the peacemaking and attended a meeting with another gang member and a police officer.

Smith said that on March 17, 2016, Moore and the man charged with his murder drove off from a house off State Highway 10 after consuming drugs at that property. It was the last time Moore's partner saw him alive, he said.

"The Crown case is that at some time in the next few hours and days, he was shot in the back [and] that would kill him," Smith told the jury in his opening address.

Police search for missing gang member Kimble Moore on Duncan Rd, between Fairburn and Kaingaroa. Photo/Peter de Graaf
Police search for missing gang member Kimble Moore on Duncan Rd, between Fairburn and Kaingaroa. Photo/Peter de Graaf

Members of the public saw the accused man the day after both men left the Far North property, he said.

Smith said a woman who helped the accused push his vehicle when it had mechanical problems observed a body lying on a reclined seat in the front passenger's seat. She didn't recognise who the dead person was.

On another occasion, Smith said two people who gave the accused help start his car noticed he appeared anxious and in a hurry. The helpers also observed the accused appear to either punch or manhandle a person in the front passenger's seat.

Smith said the accused told a person he knew that "Kimble tried to kill him, I killed the little c***" or words to that effect.

The accused told Kimble's partner he had dropped Kimble off at a particular point near an address which was a lie, the jury heard.

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Smith said two bullet fragments from an AK-47 machine gun or a similar firearm with a peculiar magazine corresponded with Kimble's wound.

Defence lawyer Nick Leader did not make an opening statement to the jury. The trial was expected to last four to five weeks.