Police investigating the murder of Australian tourist Sean McKinnon at Raglan on Friday say they are continuing to piece together the events that led to his demise.

And their priority is finding the firearm used to gun the 33-year-old down.

McKinnon's body was found in his rented campervan at Gordonton, north of Hamilton, at 8am on Friday, sparking a homicide investigation.

The 33-year-old 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 the remote Te Toto Gorge carpark in the hills south of Raglan overnight on Thursday when McKinnon was allegedly shot.

Buckley escaped and ran 2km in bare feet on a bush road to raise the alarm.

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said this morning that a team of police are still working in the Waikato area gathering forensic evidence.

"The firearm used in the shooting has not yet been recovered, and locating it remains a priority for police," he said.

"Officers have also been conducting reassurance patrols in the Raglan and Gordonton areas to ensure the public is safe and feels safe."

McKinnon's partner and his family continue to be supported by police and Victim Support.

Pitkethley said they do not wish to speak to media at this stage and requested privacy.

"The Coroner and police are working to ensure that Mr McKinnon is returned to his family in accordance with their wishes," he said in a statement.


"As part of our ongoing inquiries, police are looking for anyone who may have seen any hitchhikers in the Gordonton–Whitikahu area during daylight hours on Friday.

"Particularly, if any motorists that travelled this route on Friday have dashcam footage, police would like to hear from you."

A 23-year-old man has been charged with McKinnon's murder.

The accused, who has interim name suppression, was arrested on Friday night by armed police as they executed a search warrant on a rural property in Tauhei, east of Gordonton.

The victim's eldest sister, Emmeline McKinnon, spoke outside court of her family's heartbreak at the loss of their "wonderful" brother.

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