Ocean Heke's alleged killer named

Ocean Heke (Facebook/supplied)
Ocean Heke (Facebook/supplied)

The man accused of killing Otorohanga teenager Ocean Heke in an April hit-and-run can now be named.

Te Kuiti man Broc Kawhena, 21, was arrested on April 6.

He is charged with manslaughter and driving while under the influence of alcohol causing death.

His lawyer Rob Weir entered not guilty pleas on his behalf after Kawhena arrived late for an appearance at the Hamilton District Court this morning.

Kawhena's next appearance will be in June, with a trial expected to take place in November.

Ms Heke, 17, was found dead on the side of State Highway 3 on the morning of Sunday, April 3, following a birthday party. A post-mortem found she had injuries consistent with being hit by a vehicle.

By the following Monday, police had already identified a vehicle of interest.

 "My heart is broken and the pain is unbearable, my children's hearts are broken and seeing this makes my heart heavy and hurt so much more," Ms Heke's mother wrote on Facebook in the days following her death.

"She was taken in a most horrific manner that I cannot begin to explain and I would never wish this on my worst enemy."

Ms Heke, also known as Lovey, was laid to rest at a tangi in Marokopa on the West Coast on April 8.