Anne Marie Treadwell was planning to take her own life and confided in Susan Austen, who is now on trial for assisting her suicide, the Crown's case says.
Wellington euthanasia advocate Susan Thomas is accused of helping Anne Marie Treadwell commit suicide.
Ms Treadwell, who was 77, died in Wellington on 6 June 2016, and was herself a euthanasia advocate.
About 40 supporters of Ms Austen were gathered outside the High Court at Wellington on Monday morning.
They carried placards saying, 'A peaceful death is everybody's right'.
Supporters could be heard cheering when Ms Austen entered the court before the beginning of the trial.
Thirty-one witnesses are expected to appear during the three-week trial, including police officers who attended the scene of Ms Treadwell's death, family, and experts.
Before the jury of five men and seven women was selected, Justice Thomas reminded them to set aside their own views on assisted dying and to focus on the details of the case and the law as it would be explained to them.
Ms Austen also faces two counts of importing the sedative pentobarbitone, which is a Class C controlled drug.
In court, Crown laywer Kate Feltham said Ms Treadwell kept a detailed diary and wrote in it that she had spoken to Ms Austen about wanting to take her life and when.
Police surveillance of Ms Austen also revealed the times she had purchased pentobarbitone, and given advice to Ms Treadwell about how to get it, Ms Feltham said.
Ms Treadwell suffered depression and chronic pain from arthritis when she died in 2016, but not from a terminal illness.
She was living in the Rita Angus retirement home in Kilbirnie when she died, and was found by her daughter Veronica Mansfield, who had spent the afternoon with her just the day before, Ms Feltham told the jury.
When her death was reported police did not think it was a case of suicide, but a note was found, and an autopsy revealed she had taken pentobarbitone.
Ms Treadwell met Ms Austen through Exit International, an organisation that advocates for euthanasia. Ms Austen was the chair of the Wellington chapter.
At her first court appearance in October 2016, Ms Austen only faced the drug charges. The charge of assisting suicide was added in April last year.
The initial charges were laid after police targeted voluntary euthanasia supporters as they left a meeting in Lower Hutt, under the guise of conducting a breath-testing operation.
The trial is expected to run for about two weeks.