The 28-year-old appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning amid a heavy police presence.
The accused was represented on the day by duty lawyer Richard Peters.
Mr Peters told RNZ Tarrant indicated on the day that he wished to represent himself.
He said the accused did not complete a legal aid application but advised the accused that the court may appoint an amicus curiae (a lawyer that assists the court).
Mr Peters said his involvement was limited to appearing as a duty lawyer.
He said unless the accused changed his mind and applied for legal aid, then Tarrant had no lawyer.
The accused is due to reappear on 5 April at the High Court in Christchurch.
Police said more charges were expected.