‘Look at what you’ve done’: Family’s anger as Hawke’s Bay man admits murder

A 22-year-old has admitted murdering Raupunga man Michael Huata in the remote Hawke’s Bay township last June.

Huata, 29, was allegedly shot at close range by someone wielding a double-barrelled shotgun at a residential property on the night of June 18. He died in Wairoa Hospital a short time later.

Ben Wairama Arundel Lambert pleaded guilty on arraignment in the High Court at Gisborne on Monday morning, just ahead of the start of a scheduled trial.

A jury had not been selected. Justice Dobson sent home the jury pool.

In addition to the June 18 murder charge, Lambert also pleaded guilty to two charges arising on June 16, at Mohaka – that he assaulted Hirini Taurima and intentionally damaged that man’s car.

Justice Dobson gave Lambert a Three Strikes warning on the murder charge and remanded him in custody for sentence on November 27.

Counsel Susan Hughes QC asked the judge to refer the matter for restorative justice and said a cultural report would be provided ahead of sentencing.

Family of Lambert and Huata packed the public gallery as the charges were put to Lambert.

A woman from Huata’s family, repeatedly called out to Lambert to look at them.

“Look at what you’ve done to my family,” she said.

“You can’t even look my nan’ in the eye, you coward.”

As he was being led to the court holding cells, one of Lambert’s family called to him, “love you my bro’!”

The trial was originally set down for two weeks but by this week, was expected to take just two days.

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