The father of the accused gunman alleged to have shot Australian tourist Sean McKinnon has spoken out.

The Cairns man, who cannot be identified, made a brief statement in the wake of allegations surrounding his son who has been charged with murder.

"It is a pretty difficult time," the man, originally from Rockhampton but now living in Cairns, said.

"My thoughts are with the family [of Mr McKinnon]; I won't be making any further comments at this time."

Advertisement

The Cairns man is known for charity work, having helped with fundraisers for cancer.

His 23-year-old son, of Hamilton, appeared in custody at Hamilton District Court, charged with murder, aggravated robbery, making threats to kill and driving while disqualified.

Bianca Buckley, 32, was from Canada and Sean McKinnon, 33, from Australia.
Bianca Buckley, 32, was from Canada and Sean McKinnon, 33, from Australia.

Judge Noel Cocurullo has granted the Hamilton man interim name suppression and remanded him in custody until his next court appearance on August 27.

The alleged shooter had cryptically posted on his father's Facebook page on July 7: "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 (sic)."

It is alleged the gunman shot and killed McKinnon on August 16 in a random attack in the Te Toto Gorge track carpark near Raglan Beach south of Auckland.

The Victorian, 33, and his Canadian fiancee Bianca Buckley, 32, were woken in their campervan by a man who demanded their keys and then allegedly fired into the van.

Buckley fled, running for 2km down a gravel road by full moon until she was helped by two residents at a farmhouse.

The campervan was found with McKinnon's body about 70km away in Gordonton.

Advertisement

The defendant was arrested in a rural area after a police manhunt in the Waikato region.

Family of victim Sean McKinnon leave Hamilton District Court on Saturday. Photo / Mike Scott
Family of victim Sean McKinnon leave Hamilton District Court on Saturday. Photo / Mike Scott

The body of McKinnon has been returned to his family in Hamilton, after authorities completed a post-mortem examination at the weekend.

Waikato crime manager Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said McKinnon's sisters, brother and his fiancee would remain in New Zealand "for the time being" and were being looked after by police and ­victim support teams.