A man has denied murdering a Christchurch sex worker on New Year's Eve and will stand trial next year.

Bella Te Pania, 33, was found inside a vehicle at an Air New Zealand engineering and maintenance facility at Christchurch International Airport.

Emergency services were called to the Air NZ base at Orchard Rd just before 6.50am on December 31 last year. However, she died a short time later, police said.

A 43-year-old plasterer arrested at the scene has appeared in court charged with her murder.


Today at the High Court in Christchurch he entered a not guilty plea to one charge of murder.

The accused, who has interim name suppression, has been remanded in custody to a pre-trial hearing on July 31.

A trial has been confirmed to begin on May 10 next year.