The Crown says Hamilton woman Rae Portman's drug associates planned to give her a fright, but instead she was strangled in the boot of her car.
The pregnant 33-year-old went missing in June last year and her body was found on a South Auckland farm in September.
Paraire Hori Te Awa has been charged with kidnapping Ms Portman and murdering her in Hamilton. Dean Michael Addison is also charged with kidnapping and faces drugs charges. Both have denied all charges at the High Court in Auckland.
The Crown says the murder was over a drug debt. Prosecutor Anna Pollett told the court on Tuesday that Mr Addison owed Ms Portman either cash or drugs, but planned to give her a fright when she visited his South Auckland home in June last year.
Ms Pollett says that instead of getting money, Mr Te Awa kidnapped and bound and gagged Ms Portman before putting her in the boot of her car with the help of another man.
The court was told the pair drove the woman down to Hamilton where Mr Te Awa strangled her and later dumped her body in a pit on the South Auckland farm.
Ms Pollett says Mr Te Awa later told Mr Addison that all had gone according to plan, but not that he had murdered her.
The Crown says when police first spoke to Mr Addison about Ms Portman's disappearance, he said he didn't know anything. However, in a second interview he told investigators to speak to Mr Te Awa.
The court was told police that Mr Te Awa had come over to ask for duct tape on the night of Ms Portman's disappearance. Police did speak to Mr Te Awa, who denied any knowledge of her disappearance.