The survivor of the Raglan tourist shooting has released a touching tribute to her slain partner, describing Sean McKinnon as her "protector".

Bianca Buckley was able to escape the shooting that claimed the life of her Australian fiancee. Her tribute reads: "The light and love of my life. My greatest teacher. My protector."

The tribute was accompanied by a photo of the couple.

Buckley ran several kilometres in the dark to safety on Friday morning after witnessing her partner's murder in the campervan they were sleeping in while on holiday.

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Meanwhile, the alleged murderer of McKinnon has been discovered to be the son of an Australian salesman who lives in Queensland.

The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, refused to comment when contacted by news.com.au about his 23-year-old son's alleged crimes.

It is understood father and son have not been close or had much contact in recent years.

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But just five weeks ago, the alleged killer posted on his father's Facebook page a message saying "could you imagine someone doing this to there [sic] own son".

"A father can't choose when to be in there sons life when you don't have the wright to say your opinion on rumours you have heard you were the gutless one who left".

It is understood the parents of the alleged murderer separated some time ago.

His mother and sister live in Te Aroha, and his father, who is originally from Rockhampton, according to his social media accounts, now lives in Cairns.

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The father is well-known in Cairns for his community work and for helping to raise funds for children's charities.

The alleged murderer has been charged with four offences, the murder of McKinnon, threatening to kill his Canadian fiancee Bianca Buckley, aggravated robbery and causing grievous bodily harm to McKinnon and driving while disqualified. Police are still hunting for the murder weapon.

The farm worker's cabin where the man accused of killing Sean McKinnon was arrested. Photo / Natalie Akoorie
The farm worker's cabin where the man accused of killing Sean McKinnon was arrested. Photo / Natalie Akoorie

The alleged killer, originally from Te Aroha, appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Saturday and was remanded in custody to appear in the High Court on August 27 with his name and identifying details suppressed.

McKinnon and Buckley had been asleep in their hired camper van in a remote car park south of Raglan, when they were woken by the man asking for help early on Friday morning.

A local resident who helped Buckley after she escaped, told the Herald the man had said he wanted their van to get back to Hamilton.

The resident said the man had allegedly smashed the window of the van with the butt of his gun and put the gun through the window and shot McKinnon twice.

He then allegedly pushed Buckley out of the van allowing her to take some clothes and telling her he would not kill her.

She hid until the gunman had driven off and then ran for her life to residents 2km away.

Police launched a massive manhunt for the gunman and at 11pm on Friday night armed officers surrounded an empty farm workers cabin in Tauhei, a rural area outside Hamilton.

Police on Monday told the Herald they were still looking for the weapon involved in the incident.

Police had been alerted by residents in the area who had seen a man walking strangely and attempting to hitchhike.

Nicki Quinn, who runs the Morrinsville Community Facebook page, said her partner and another couple of friends were about to call police when the man approached them and said he was trying to find his brother's farm.

They said he was acting weird and did not seem to know the address. While he was talking with them, he was fiddling with something under his jacket.

Police found him some hours later in the cabin and arrested him.

Police were also still interested to hear from anyone who may have noticed a hitch-hiker in the Gordonton-Whitikahu area on Friday to contact them on 07 858 6200.

Sean McKinnon's family leave Hamilton District Court on Saturday - his brother Lachlan, left, sister Emmeline and sister Mary McKinnon.
Sean McKinnon's family leave Hamilton District Court on Saturday - his brother Lachlan, left, sister Emmeline and sister Mary McKinnon.

McKinnon's grieving siblings, Emmeline, Mary and Lachlan, are in Hamilton waiting for his body to be released so they can take him home and bury him in the town where he was born.

McKinnon was in New Zealand on a surfing holiday with Buckley, who was working in Auckland as a midwife.

He had been working as a carpenter at Stephen Little Construction in Hobart, Tasmania.

Hutchinson Builders site manager Mark Mackney told the media his workers on site were sad.

"He was an extremely likeable man and will be surely missed by his workmates here in Tasmania.

"We will inform the full site on Monday morning of this sad loss and pay our respects with a minute's silence."