A man charged over an axe attack which left one dead and another injured is fighting the charges.

Rydell Tuaupiki Martin, 25, made a brief appearance via audio-visual link in the High Court at Hamilton this morning where, through his lawyer Max Simpkins, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering Phillip Macpherson with an axe at Pukemiro on March 1.

He also denied a second charge of assault with an axe on a second person on the same day.

A trial date of May 4, 2020, was set down by Justice Mathew Down.


Crown prosecutor Rebecca Mann said it was still unclear exactly how long the trial could take but put forward a timespan of two weeks in the interim.

Simpkins said his client was also keen to apply for bail.

Justice Down set down a bail hearing for April 30 as well as a case-review hearing in June.

Martin was remanded in further custody until that date.