New details emerge about New Zealand man accused of shooting dead Aussie surfer

A friend of a man charged with the murder of Australian surfer Sean McKinnon in New Zealand has posted on social media about the accused's struggles.

New Zealand police continue to search for the murder weapon and have appealed for witnesses to come forward if they saw a hitchhiker near a small town where the body of Mr McKinnon was found in his campervan.

The 33-year-old Victorian was shot several times while asleep with his fiancée Bianca Buckley by his side in their campervan near Raglan, a popular surf spot.

Friends have opened up about the man accused of killing Australian surfer Sean McKinnon (pictured) in New Zealand. Source: Facebook

A 23-year-old man was charged with the murder on Saturday after he allegedly fired shots into the campervan, before driving off in it, with Mr McKinnon dying inside as Ms Buckley fled for her life.

Mr McKinnon's body was later found in the vehicle in the nearby town of Gordonton at 8am on Friday.

A friend of the alleged killer took to social media on Sunday, posting a public photo of him and the man standing side by side. "I witnessed your struggle brother ...," he wrote.

Sean McKinnon was shot dead while sleeping in a campervan with his fiancée. Source: Facebook

The post comes just one day after the man faced Hamilton District Court and was remanded in custody to appear again in the High Court on August 27, with his name and identity suppressed.

The accused, who is originally from the town of Te Aroha, had previously posted several photos of himself with his middle finger up - the most recent picture with the same gesture posted just under one month ago.

He also posted photos wearing a shirt with the words "Go get F****ed" printed on the back.

Sean McKinnon died, but his Canadian fiancée Bianca Buckley survived. Source: Facebook

New Zealand police search for murder weapon

Waikato police said on Sunday they are still looking for the gun used in the attack and they're working to return Mr McKinnon's body to his family.

They're urging anyone who may have spotted a hitchhiker around Gordonton or at nearby Whitikahu during the day on Friday to contact them.

Mr McKinnon's sister, Emmeline, told reporters outside court "we just don't know even how to begin to put life together without him".

"The worst thing was telling my mother," Ms McKinnon added.

The gunman accused of shooting dead Sean McKinnon (pictured) was troubled, his friends say. Source: Facebook

She said her brother's fiancée Ms Buckley had been "amazingly resilient and strong".

"I cannot even begin to understand what she's gone through."

"She's a really strong young woman. We're just really glad she's alive."

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said Ms Buckley remained shocked and traumatised from her ordeal.

"She is thankful that an arrest within a 24-hour period has occurred and we're working with her and her family, and we'll continue to be in touch with her around her welfare," he said.

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