A man accused of murdering someone with a sawn-off shotgun while trying to steal their drugs is on trial in Wellington this week.

Falcon Samuels, 30, is charged with murdering Wainuiomata man Paul Te Hiko in March last year.

The first day of his trial is underway at the High Court in Wellington where a jury of nine women and three men has been selected.

In her opening statement Crown prosecutor Adele Garrick said Te Hiko was shot in the lower chest and his body was found late at night by the back steps of his home in Wainuiomata.

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Te Hiko lived in a new subdivision and also worked as a builder there.

Samuels and two other people had been at a local gang pad that evening when they decided to go to Te Hiko's home to steal drugs, Garrick said.

"The other two men left when they saw that Paul Te Hiko was home. Falcon Samuels didn't leave. He stayed behind."

Garrick said Samuels told his associates he was "up for anything".

He approached the property, but Paul Te Hiko came down the back steps wielding an axe.

"Mr Samuels shot him at close range."

His body was found just before 11pm by friends. They called Te Hiko's father, who arrived on the scene and called 111.

Police arrived on scene shortly after and began a homicide investigation.

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The trial continues.