The man who bailed up the Prime Minister at a press conference was contacted by police after the March 15 Christchurch massacre because of concern over views he had expressed.
The Herald has also heard claims United States' citizen and Whangārei resident Shane Chafin held such concern about being under surveillance that he kept mobile phones and laptops wrapped in tinfoil inside his freezer in an effort to avoid being spied on.
Chafin confirmed to the Herald he was contacted by police in 2019, claiming he was approached because he had voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.
The Herald has seen some of the material held by police that led to Chafin being spoken to and it was not related to his voting decisions.
The contact by police emerged during Herald inquiries into Chafin's background after he turned up at Kawakawa in Northland on November 2 as the "chief medical correspondent" for the Counterspin website, which broadcasts conspiracy theories and discredited Covid-19 misinformation.
Chafin hurled a string of questions at Jacinda Ardern, asking her to name the woman whose death was linked to the Pfizer vaccine - the single case of 6.8 million doses at that point.
He also quizzed her - seemingly without leaving time for an answer - about the vaccine's effectiveness in Israel.
It was a confrontation that was reported around the world, including being picked up by Ivermectin-endorsing podcast host Joe Rogan.
Chafin has been in New Zealand since 2014, moving here from Ohio in the US, where he is said to have become increasingly concerned with the direction he believed President Barack Obama was taking the US.
He moved here with his wife - who has since left him - and children to work as a pharmacist for Northland District Health Board.
His work with the health board finished in 2019. Two months ago he first started appearing on Counterspin with Kelvyn Alp, who has previously styled himself as a revolutionary wanting to overthrow the government.
The day before Chafin interrupted the Prime Minister's press conference he said during a Counterspin broadcast: "How are you not a murderer if you know something kills people and you do nothing but promote whatever it is?" He then followed up stating: "How is it you are not a murderer? Tell me - I want to know. Because you have blood on your hands."
Less than 24 hours later, he confronted the Prime Minister in Kawakawa.
A spokesperson for Ardern said: "We don't comment on security matters relating to the PM. With 89 per cent of New Zealanders having received at least one dose of the vaccine there is strong support for vaccination and the safety and freedoms it offers."
Police also declined to answer questions about Chafin and his confrontation with the Prime Minister "for both privacy and operational reasons".
When spoken to by the Herald, Chafin claimed he was visited because he had voted for Trump.
The Herald has seen some of the material held by police that prompted contact with Chafin in 2019. Neither police nor the Herald disclosed to Chafin what the material was for security reasons.
In a bid to seek an independent and informed view, the content was relayed by the Herald to former NZ Security Intelligence Service officer Dr Rhys Ball, who is now a Massey University academic specialising in security studies.
Ball believed the material would be of interest to police and would require assessment.
When the Herald asked Chafin about his views on Islam, he said: "The views I've expressed on Islam is that they were cutting the heads off orthodox Christians in the Middle East. Do you support my people having their heads cut off in the Middle East? My orthodox Christian people - welcome to me."
Chafin's views echo debunked claims by Trump which focused on a minority of murders of Christians by Islamic State while overlooking the vastly greater number of Muslims murdered.
It also inaccurately conflates Islam with Islamic State, with one being a religion and the other a terrorist organisation which killed hundreds of thousands of people during its reign of terror.
"Do you also know I have had Muslim friends for 20 years? And they are willing to go on record." Chafin would not connect the Herald with anyone.
"I'm a reporter. I can go on my channel and talk about that content any time I want to." Chafin said he had been a reporter for two months and "I'm the one making news around the world". "I made viral news around the world. When's the last time you did that?"
Chafin floated various claims about Covid-19, which - when challenged - led to him asking: "Are you f***ing stupid? Are you mentally ill? Maybe your meds aren't right. I'm a professional - maybe I could help your psychiatrist."
Of Counterspin, he said: "We're what you call real men. Not you little soft c**ks."
Chafin's mother-in-law, Carolyn Kiefer, a professor of biology at an Ohio university, considered he was a charismatic speaker and expressed views in a way that sought to influence others.
In her view, Chafin "comes across as very well-spoken, well-educated, very interesting to speak to when you first meet him. Then it evolved into something quite nasty. If I didn't agree with anything he said, I would have a whole inbox filled with crazy stuff he had pulled offline to support his argument."
She believed he "likes to be in your face and show everyone how clever he is. A lot of it was religious-based."
Kiefer said she was shocked when visiting her step-daughter - Chafin's ex-wife - at their home in New Zealand to find his interest in conspiracies appeared to have developed.
"I open up the freezer and there is a laptop and cellphone wrapped up in tinfoil inside the freezer. He believes people are listening in on his conversations," she claimed.
Kiefer claimed Chafin's "idol" was Alex Jones of Infowar notoriety. Jones has used his platform to push conspiracy theories and provided a platform and support for white nationalists.
She believed Chafin's strongest motivation was Christianity. "He had some hurtful views about Muslims. He would say things like people should deputise him so he could go after them. When there was that shooting in New Zealand, that spurred it on."
Kiefer provided the Herald with a number of emails Chafin had sent her.
In one, he argued over the safety of vaccines. He wrote of side-effects from the measles vaccine, linked autism and the MMR vaccine and the polio vaccine and cancer. He also says in the email that he is "not against vaccines".
A health worker who spoke anonymously to the Herald said they were surprised at Chafin's reaction to a DHB awareness session on colonisation which saw him walk out before it was finished.
Educator Hone Hurihanganui, who was running the session, said he recalled the incident as it was the only such event that had occurred during sessions covering thousands of people.
Hurihanganui's session steers people away from the idea that there is modern blame for historical failings while explaining that there is ongoing colonisation in New Zealand that needs to be fixed.
"He stood up and left. He was screaming 'this is tyranny!'." Hurihanganui said at the mention of colonisation, the man had said: "Colonisation? Ease up on the name-calling."
Chafin said his words were: "I don't like tyranny in any form." He said he took issue with people being pointed at and being called colonisers. "I was not happy he was going after people." He also said he did not storm out but left after almost three hours.
Chafin said: "If I had done something wrong, wouldn't the DHB have punished me? The DHB didn't fire me. The DHB didn't reprimand me. If it's so true, how come they didn't fire me or reprimand me? I worked in predominantly Māori practices for the DHB for years."
Northland health board's general manager for people and performance John Wansbone confirmed Chafin was "involved in an altercation" with Hurihanganui.
"However, there was no evidence that his actions reflected any negative attitude towards the content of the course. Following an investigation, it was determined Mr Chafin's actions were inappropriate and rude and he was censured, but it was not considered misconduct requiring any formal action to be taken."
A spokeswoman for the Northland health board said Chafin resigned from his job in July 2019 and "the reasons for resigning are his own and not information held by Northland DHB".
"Northland DHB has been previously made aware of Shane Chafin's views. The DHB is aware of his professional background and notes that his current registration with the NZ Pharmacy Council is inactive.
"The DHB remains extremely concerned about the spread of misinformation on Covid-19 and the Covid-19 vaccine."
"Northland has a dispersed and vulnerable population; it is extremely disappointed to see individuals with a professional health background working against the rollout of Northland's best chance against Covid-19."