A date has been set for the trial of the seven accused of murdering 27-year-old patched Mongrel Mob member Kevin Neihana Ratana.

Ratana was shot dead a year ago this Wednesday at his Puriri St home.

Whanganui Police attended the scene of the shooting at about 9.40am on August 21, 2018, and a homicide investigation was launched.

Anthony Kuru, Damien Shane Kuru, Damien Fantham-Baker, Anthony Wiremu Newton, Gordon Anthony Runga and Sheldon Toni Rogerson and another man, who has name suppression, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Ratana.

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They will appear again in the Whanganui High Court on September 2 for pre-trials before a trial due to commence on June 29, 2020, at the High Court in Wellington.

Whanganui Police cordoned off the scene near Puriri St as they launched a homicide investigation after Kevin Ratana was fatally shot on August 21, 2018. Photo / Bevan Conley
Whanganui Police cordoned off the scene near Puriri St as they launched a homicide investigation after Kevin Ratana was fatally shot on August 21, 2018. Photo / Bevan Conley

Ratana had two children aged 7 and 3 and a partner.

"The whānau is bereaved to announce the passing of their beloved moko, son, brother, cousin, father, friend and lover," an obituary for Ratana stated.

"He was a talented musician, a dedicated family man and a proud father ... he was very much loved and respected and will forever be dearly missed."

Ratana was an aspiring rapper who went by the name "Kastro" and had a YouTube channel where he uploaded his work.

Throughout the investigation and because of the number of gang members in Whanganui at the time, police called in extra resources including an Eagle helicopter.

Police called in an Eagle helicopter as well as increased forces to support their investigation and due to the possibility of gang retaliation. Photo / Bevan Conley
Police called in an Eagle helicopter as well as increased forces to support their investigation and due to the possibility of gang retaliation. Photo / Bevan Conley

The seven alleged killers appeared in the Whanganui court on November 8 last year and proceedings quickly erupted into chaos.

The courtroom had an increased presence of security and police as the defendants appeared in the dock in front of Ratana's supporters in the public gallery.

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Six of the accused were confirmed as Black Power gang members and at the time they all had name suppression because of successful applications from their lawyers.

In the days after he had been shot dead, people spray painted various buildings around Whanganui to show their support for Ratana. Photo / Bevan Conley
In the days after he had been shot dead, people spray painted various buildings around Whanganui to show their support for Ratana. Photo / Bevan Conley

"Not guilty," one of the defendants yelled out loud when asked for his plea by Justice Simon France who appeared by audio visual link.

Friends and family of Ratana, members of the Mongrel Mob gang began yelling "seig heil" and barking as security and police rushed to remove them.

The animosity spilled outside the court building on Market Pl where Mongrel Mob and Black Power members clashed, resulting in two men being arrested.

Their next appearance in the Whanganui court was on February 7. During that time, name suppression had lapsed for six of the seven accused.