The man accused of murdering Taihape's Kerrin Payne has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Te Ao Hakopa, 23, appeared in the High Court at Whanganui on Friday morning where pleaded not guilty to murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to do so.

Kerrin Payne, known as Ted, was 43-years-old when he died while being transported to an airbase near Taihape after police found him with critical injuries just after midnight on July 13.

Lawyer Peter Brosnahan applied for electronic bail for Hakopa as a jury trial date has been set in the High Court at Whanganui for September 7 2020.


A member of the public gallery yelled "f***" and walked out of the court room when the bail application was granted by Justice Helen Cull who appeared by audio visual link.

Hakopa wore a long white-sleeved shirt and black pants for his appearance in the dock and few seats in the public gallery remained unoccupied.

Hakopa's next appearance in the High Court will be on November 21 for a case review hearing.