The man accused of carrying out a hit on a notorious gangster has pleaded not guilty as heavily armed police guarded Auckland's historic High Court.
Akustino Tae, 39, appeared this morning via video link from prison for the first time in the High Court, charged with the attempted murder of Killer Beez gang president Josh Masters.
Described as a carpenter in court documents, Tae pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody by Justice Simon Moore until the next court appearance in July.
There was a heavy police presence in the courthouse for today's appearance, with officers armed with rifles and pistols.
Masters was shot at a Harley Davidson store in Auckland and left in a critical condition last month.
The incident was reportedly captured on CCTV.
After the shooting, police said Tae "surrendered himself" at the Manukau Police Station, while the firearm was also found.
There was thought to have been rising tensions between Masters' Killer Beez and other gangs, a Herald source earlier said.
Masters had also recently been released from prison, after spending 10 years and five months in jail on drugs and money laundering charges.
One of the conditions of his release, last July, was he was not allowed to associate with gang members, except for those approved by his probation officer, or enter gang-related premises.
But Masters was back in court last November after being charged with breaching his parole conditions.