Canadian woman 'shocked and distressed' after fiance is murdered in New Zealand

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New Zealand police arrested a 23-year-old man and charged him with murder on Saturday, bringing relief to a community that was on edge after an Australian tourist was killed in a seemingly random attack on his van that sparked a large manhunt.

Raglan is a small town on New Zealand's west coast, south of Auckland.

"At this stage police are following up on a number of leads, but they are yet to get any information on a strong lead and they're still appealing to the public for any further information on this man", she said.

Members from the McKinnon family arrived in New Zealand overnight and were present in court when the accused faced a murder charge and other offences including aggravated robbery and making threats to kill.

Colin Chung from Colin's Cafe at nearby Whale Bay told AAP the area is a rocky coastline and provided some of the best surf in New Zealand, but it is off the beaten track for tourists.

"She's a really strong young woman".

Police found the van at 8am about 75km away in the village of Gordonton with the body of the Australian inside.

"It's a tragic, tragic incident and incomprehensible what has happened", he wrote.

Russell said he "touched a wide range of people [from] a lot of walks of life" and there are many people who "hold him close to their hearts".

No one else was being sought at this point over the tragedy, Pitkethley said.

"This is a tragic incident". Police arrested him late Friday after heavily armed officers searched for him all day.

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"In light of the current circumstances, a general arming order for police staff is in place this afternoon for the entire Waikato District and will be reassessed later today", he said.

"We could hear lots of barking and thought that's odd because there's no dogs around", Proffitt said.

"It stayed in the air for a long time, maybe 45 minutes", he said. Police confirmed that the attacker was not known to McKinnon or his fiancé.

He said police were now "working through a number of leads".

"I want to thank those in our community who contacted police with information and assisted us with our investigation", he said.

'I also want to acknowledge the hard work from the investigators involved in this case.

In response to an Australian journalist's question about whether tourists should be concerned that this was a "wider issue", Pitkethley pointed out the high level of media interest suggested the shooting was a "random and unusual" event.

Emmeline, the 39-year-old sister of Mr McKinnon, said she was anxious for her widowed mother.

He had been engaged to Ms Buckley since December 2017, according to social media, but the pair had not secured plans for their wedding.

She described Mr McKinnon's partner as an incredible woman.

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