The young man who died in an Auckland neighbourhood that echoed with screams for help had come to New Zealand as an international student.

So, too, had the other young man injured in the attack that led to a Saturday morning court hearing at which a New Zealand-born man, 37, was charged with murder and grievous bodily harm.

Legal orders made at the court hearing prevent the names of all involved from being published.

In the case of the young man who was killed, it was to allow time for family in India to be told his great adventure in Aotearoa was tragically over.


In one week, there have been three alleged murders. They came on top of a month of mayhem in which a string of deadly attacks were a stark contrast of violence to the relative calm of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Herald has counted 11 alleged murders since May 1, which stands as a deadly lurch forward after the country recorded its lowest homicide rate for 40 years.


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Those who live close to the boarding house where the young man was killed around 6pm on Thursday were struggling to make sense, or even describe, what had happened in a neighbourhood more familiar with an upbeat student vibe.

The boarding house was known in the neighbourhood to be quiet, with the occasionally noisy Friday and Saturday night. It offered many of the advantages of living on campus and few of the drawbacks.

The man who was killed came to New Zealand in 2018 to do post-graduate studies in mental health. He had earned his initial qualification in India and set out to study here, apparently knowing no one.

And yet, he built a circle of friends connected to his course and outside it. A student from South Korea, one from the Philippines - they formed a support circle for a young man who also maintained regular contact with family at home.

Having qualified, he stayed in New Zealand and continued living in the same boarding house as he joined the workforce.


A friend and flatmate spoke of how she called the man family even though they had come from different countries to study in New Zealand. It was a friendship that had built to the stage where she would check on his welfare, and he would offer advice when it was sought after.

In an emotional social media post, she wrote of waking to the news of the alleged murder and the sobbing that followed. She told friends of how unfair it was the young man's life had been taken, and what she thought of the person accused of doing so.

The young man wounded in the attack was also an international student, also from India. His support network was built around sport through involvement in the local cricket club and indoor social sport during winter.

The cricket club manager told the Herald he had been trying - unsuccessfully - to reach the man since learning he had fallen victim to the attack but had managed to talk to those who had and the feedback was positive.

"I feel so very sorry for the guy who died. Just imagine the situation for his family when they are such a long way from him."

At the scene on Saturday, the police cordon was still up and officers in boiler suits continued to work around an area just inside the driveway.

Three vehicles remained outside the building. Inside, in the upstairs room, lights were still on despite the morning sunshine. A chair on the deck at the back was leaning on its side.

A steady stream of police officers - including detectives and forensic teams - had been going in and out of the house since Thursday, into a blue police tent still up yesterday.

The violence of Thursday continued in Hamilton early Friday evening with the death of a person at a house in Bader, Hamilton.

The victim was reportedly stabbed. Police are yet to find the person responsible.

Police were called to Slim St just before 6pm to reports of a grievous assault, turning up at a home known in the neighbourhood as "a bit of a gang house".

Police at the scene of the North Shore homicide. New Zealand Herald photograph / Sylvie Whinray
Police at the scene of the North Shore homicide. New Zealand Herald photograph / Sylvie Whinray

One resident said there was constant coming and going from the house - which had continued during lockdown - and often a "lot of noise".

"It can be pretty rough around here, a lot of motorbikes driving up and down the street."

The atmosphere of the street had changed in recent years after a Māori warden in the area retired and was not replaced, she said.

"He kept things pretty quiet, but since he's gone it is all starting up again. It was very quiet for some time and now it is getting a bit rough. I'm not frightened though."

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Detective Senior Sergeant William Loughrin said a forensic examination of the scene would likely continue into next week.

"Police are conducting inquiries to locate the alleged offender and we are committed to resolving this matter as quickly as possible," he said.

Police launched a homicide investigation into the man's death almost immediately. A post-mortem examination will be done tomorrow.

Loughrin said police wanted to speak to anyone who saw people or vehicles coming or going from 8 Slim St in Hamilton between 5.30pm and 5.45pm.

New Zealand saw relatively few fatal, violent incidents during lockdown, which finished on April 27. As the country eased its way back towards normality, this brought with it a return to violence.

New Zealand's murder rate hit a 40-year low in 2018 with seven people killed for every million in our country, for a total of 35 deaths. Last year's figures were skewed by the tragedy of March 15.

Violent deaths since May 1
May 1
Auckland: Solo mum Tania Hadley dies after being stabbed, covered in petrol and set on fire. A man has been charged with murder.

Focus: Police detective Scott Armstrong addresses media in relation to the death of a woman at an address on May Road, Mt Roskill. Video / Dean Purcell

May 11

Tokoroa: A woman aged 28 is charged with murder after a man is found dead at a house on Moa Place.

May 13
Auckland: The body of Angela Smith is found in her Henderson flat. Two men, 51 and 58, are charged with murder two weeks later.

May 16
Te Anau: Police are called to a motel where they find the body of Shirley Reedy. A man, 52, is charged with murder a short time later.

May 17
Otaki: Police charge a 33-year-old with murder after a man in his 50s dies after being injured at Mill Rd.

May 20
Rotorua: Police charge a man, 59, with murder after the death of a man in Owhata.

May 26
Auckland: Police launch a homicide inquiry after the death of a girl, aged 1, in Clover Park.

Albert Vahaakolo on the Clover Park incident where a young child died a few days ago. Video / Dean Purcell

June 1

Auckland: The body of Mongrel Mob member Clifford Umuhuri is found near Auckland City Hospital after a shooting in St Johns.

Police say an incident where a man died from a shooting in Grafton is also related to a scene at St Johns Road. Video / Visual Media Productions / Dean Purcell

June 1

East Cape: Police arrest a man, 56, after the death of a man in his 50s at Waihau Bay, northeast of Ōpōtiki.

June 4
Auckland: One man killed and another injured. A 37-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murder and grievous bodily harm.

June 5
Hamilton: A person is killed at 8 Slim St in Hamilton. Police are seeking the public's help finding the killer and have asked for anyone seeing people or vehicles leaving the house between 5.30pm and 5.45pm to make contact.

June 5
Auckland: A man is seriously injured after being stabbed in a downtown Auckland carpark.