Victims' advocate says people struggling to get help as mental health report ordered for alleged murderer

The man who allegedly murdered a stranger in suburban Christchurch on Saturday afternoon has been remanded in custody, with the judge ordering a report to assess his mental health and whether he's fit to stand trial.

The random attack on Laisa Maraia Waka as she walked home from work is the latest in a string of random attacks across the country.

She was stabbed a short distance from her home as she returned from work on Saturday afternoon. The Fijian woman lived in New Zealand with her partner and young son.

Her adult daughter who still lives in Fiji posted an emotional tribute on Facebook

"You've always been my role model since day 1. You always encourage me to be more hardworking, be independent, be respectful, pray a lot, always give a helping hand, love and cherish your families and friends from both sides," she wrote.

"I thank God for giving us a Mom that is so loving and caring, hardworking and cherishes every moment of her loved ones. I'm so grateful to be your daughter."

Her alleged attacker appeared in court on Monday. His details were suppressed by the judge, who also ordered a mental health assessment to see if he is fit to stand trial.

"The ripple effect. It's bad enough for this community, but also all of the homicide survivors are triggered by this," said victims' advocate Ruth Money.

It is understood the man was receiving mental health care from the Canterbury District Health Board. The DHB wouldn't comment to Newshub.

"This is exactly what a failed mental health system looks like. People in the community are struggling every hour to get help. It's inevitable that this will keep happening," Money said.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson admitted there has been underinvestment in mental health services.

"There is no doubt that we have a long-standing legacy of underinvestment in mental health generally but we do continue to provide good quality services in safety for the public," he said.

This is the fifth random stabbing in New Zealand in a little over a year.

Five people were stabbed by Luke Lambert last year at Countdown in Dunedin. Four months later a man in Auckland stabbed seven people at a supermarket.

This year a young student was stabbed to death in Mt Albert walking home one evening, and just last week four people were stabbed in Auckland's quiet beach suburb of Murrays Bay.

"I don't even know what the word is. We are more than critical, we are absolutely more than critical," Money said.

The suspect has been remanded in custody and will reappear in the high court next month.