The attempted murder trial of Tauranga man Warren Uata Kiwi remains very much a question of who fired a shot at a Rotorua man 17 years ago, Kiwi's lawyer told the jury trying him.

58-year-old Kiwi, also known as Archie Kiwi, pleaded not guilty when his trial opened on Wednesday in the High Court at Rotorua to attempting to murder Karl Nyman on July 31, 2002, and conspiring with others to murder him between April and July the same year.

Taking the stand this morning Kiwi confirmed he had been in prison twice, once for dangerous driving and for cannabis-related matters. He also had an assault conviction for which he had been sentenced to periodic detention.

On oath he denied it was him who was at Nyman's Rotorua home with a rifle on July 31, 2002, or that he had wrestled with a man there, shooting him in the arm.

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He agreed with his lawyer, Gene Tomlinson, that he'd had a discussion with a man "down the coast" who had indicated he wanted Nyman "taken out" but denied he had acted on it.

The only person he had told of that conversation was his late brother, Graeme.

Asked about a conversation with a Crown witness, Coral Farrell, in 2011, Kiwi denied telling her he shot at Nyman but amended that to "I may have done".

Questioned by Tomlinson about a DVD interview with police where there was an eight-minute period when the camera was switched off, Kiwi said during that time he felt pressured because two officers in the room with him said it was he who had "done it" [shot Nyman], not his brother as he claimed.

"They really had me in a tight spot, I didn't know what I was doing, all I wanted was to get out of there, be with my family and kids, they said if I didn't answer any questions they'd lock me up straight away."

Asked what he meant when he said when the tape resumed "ra, ra ra, it was me all the way", Kiwi responded the officers had told him off-camera if he pleaded guilty they would keep him out of jail.

He repeated it was his brother, Graeme, at the shooting scene, not him.

Although the two of them were a similar height their builds differed. He was solid, his brother wiry.

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Crown prosecutor Chris Macklin opened his cross-examination by challenging Kiwi about the number of prison terms he had served, saying it was three, not the two claimed.

These included imprisonment for possessing ammunition and the drugs ecstasy and methamphetamine in 2012, plus an earlier sentence for offences relating to firearms.

Throughout the time he was being questioned Kiwi became confused and accused the prosecutor of attempting to trick him, push him into a corner "like the rest of them".

Told several times that it was he who shot at Karl Nyman in 2002, Kiwi insisted it had not been him.

At one juncture, the court was adjourned at Macklin's suggestion to allow Kiwi to compose himself and speak with his lawyer.

Questioned about the conversation he had with Crown witness Coral Farrell he insisted he had not told her he had shot at Nyman.

"She said you told her you were asked to shoot at a Pākehā man, is that correct?" Macklin queried.

Kiwi responded he was not sure about that. Macklin put it to him he would have the jury believe Farrell lied to the court, to which Kiwi replied: "Yes, I would not trust her as far as I could throw her".

He claimed when the camera had been turned off during his DVD interview at the Tauranga police station while the two officers present talked with him, he felt as if he was being threatened.

Told by Macklin he looked calm when he was talking to Detective Mahara Alcock when the video resumed Kiwi denied it, repeating he was under pressure.

"They wanted me to confess to attempted murder . . . put me on remand."

He claimed he only said he had shot at Nyman because he wanted to get out of there and home to his five children, describing them as his life.

Kiwi was pressed further that he had gone to Nyman's home to carry out a plan to kill him, Kiwi was adamant it had not been him, adding anything he knew about events of the morning 17 years ago was what his late brother told him.

The trial has been adjourned until Monday when both lawyers will argue their cases and the judge sums up before the jury retires to consider its verdict.