A flatmate of the man accused of killing Australian tourist Sean McKinnon is shaken after the man's arrest.

The young man boards at a house in the Waikato with the 23-year-old who has name suppression and been charged with murder, robbery causing grievous bodily harm, threatening to kill, and driving while disqualified.

He told the Herald at the home today his friend had helped him recover from a loss.

"He found me in a bad place. I moved in with him. He saved me from a bad loss some time ago," said the young man, who did not want to be identified.

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"He was good to me. I just would rather not talk about it thanks."

A woman at the property was talking to neighbours in the street, who were asking reporters to move on.

McKinnon, 33, had been on a surfing holiday with his Canadian fiancee Bianca Buckley, a midwife at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland.

The pair were free camping at Te Toto Gorge carpark south of Raglan in the early hours of Friday morning when McKinnon was shot.

Buckley ran two kilometres on a dark, rugged road to find help. McKinnon's body was later found by police in the couple's abandoned campervan in Puke Road, Gordonton, north of Hamilton.

Police photographing evidence in the carpark of the Te Toto Gorge lookout on Whaanga Rd, south of Raglan. Photo / Alan Gibson
Police photographing evidence in the carpark of the Te Toto Gorge lookout on Whaanga Rd, south of Raglan. Photo / Alan Gibson

McKinnon's three devastated older siblings were at Hamilton District Court today to hear the charges against the accused.

The man appeared in the dock in a type of sack garment, his clothes taken for forensic testing. He hid his face in the garment.

He was arrested late Friday night at a property in Tauhei, near Gordonton.

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Judge Noel Cocurullo granted the man interim name suppression and remanded him in custody to reappear in the High Court at Hamilton on August 27.

McKinnon's sister spoke outside court of her family's heartbreak at the loss of their youngest sibling and "Mum's favourite".

Eldest sister of Sean McKinnon, Australian police officer Emmeline McKinnon, is worried about how her mother will cope with their family's devastating loss. Photo / Mike Scott
Eldest sister of Sean McKinnon, Australian police officer Emmeline McKinnon, is worried about how her mother will cope with their family's devastating loss. Photo / Mike Scott

Emmeline McKinnon said she was worried about her mother, who was widowed when their father died in tragic circumstances when they were younger.

Emmeline, who works in law enforcement in Australia, said Sean looked the most like his father and the family didn't know how his death would effect their mother, who remained in Australia.

The 39-year-old described her brother as a wonderful person.

"We love him very deeply. We were devastated to hear that his life had been taken from him," she said.

"We just don't even know how to begin to put life together.

"The worst thing was telling my mother. I think he was my Mum's favourite.

"We're just going to miss him a lot. He'll be missed around the Christmas table."

She described her brother as loving to travel and remembers the last time she spoke to him was when she helped him get a new passport.

"Oddly enough I said a goodbye that I would say if I knew I wasn't going to see him again."

Emmeline said Sean loved being in New Zealand to visit his fiancée, midwife Buckley, when he was between jobs in Australia.

"He loved the surf here. He loved the lifestyle and the place."

The couple had not set a date yet for their wedding.

She described the couple as having been young and free.

"They're young. They're still at that great age where that reckless temperance of youth hasn't come into line with the responsibilities of adulthood and it never will for Sean now."

Emmeline said Buckley, who was not at court, was resilient and strong.

"I cannot even begin to understand what she's gone through. She's a really strong young woman," she said.

The family had been supporting Buckley, who was now their priority, she said.

"We're just really glad she's alive."

Emmeline said being in court today was important.

"I just didn't want Sean to just be a face. He has a family. He's very well loved. He's a real character."

McKinnon was supported by her younger brother Lachlan, and sister Mary McKinnon.

The family wanted to understand the process and were grateful of the support the community had shown them including New Zealand police, Air New Zealand and the court.

Siblings Emmeline, Lachlan and Mary explain why it was important for them to be present at the court appearance of the man accused of murdering their brother. Photo / Mike Scott
Siblings Emmeline, Lachlan and Mary explain why it was important for them to be present at the court appearance of the man accused of murdering their brother. Photo / Mike Scott

She said they had been prepared to come to New Zealand "angry" but have been shown overwhelming support for which they are very grateful for.

She had never been to New Zealand and said the way the community had reached out to them as complete strangers, she had never experienced before.

"We are deeply grateful for the compassion expressed by people in the New Zealand community."

The siblings did not know how long they would stay in New Zealand but wanted to wait for the release of their brother's body so they could take him home to bury him.

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said information from the public had contributed to finding the alleged offender.

"I know this has been a shocking event for the community," he said, thanking those who had responded to the media appeal yesterday.

"This has shocked and touched a number of people in the community and the inquiry team as well."

The investigation was continuing and a post-mortem was being carried out.

No one else was being sought at this point over the tragedy, Pitkethley said. The incident was a "random, tragic event".