A branch manager for a top New Zealand fashion label ripped his bosses off in a scam a judge has labelled "idiotic".

Paakanae Ngamanu Dean Korewha, 24, was hired by I Love Ugly in October 2013 as retail operations manager and within five months was managing the Takapuna store.

Almost immediately, he began helping himself to clothes.

The label had humble beginnings, with Valentin Ozich and Barnaby Marshall launching the venture from a small Mt Eden shop.

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By 2014, they were opening their first branch in Los Angeles and being endorsed by celebrities such as rapper A$AP Rocky.

But while the label's reputation skyrocketed internationally, Korewha had his hand in the till back home.

As store manager he was responsible for banking cash, staffing and stock takes; a position which gave him the opportunity to commit a string of "unsophisticated" thefts.

Almost as soon as he moved to the North Shore store, Korewha began stealing clothing and accessories for his own personal use.

In a bid to hide his actions from bosses, he marked the stolen stock as "lost product" on documentation bound for head office.

But concerns were soon raised.

Over the period, the Takapuna shop under Korewha's control lost 15.9 per cent of stock. The next highest was Mt Eden with only 0.7 per cent of garments and accessories misplaced.

Over the Christmas period in 2014, the defendant banked no cash, pocketing $2045 from store sales.

Overall, the company lost more than $5700 because of the defendant, Judge Rob Ronayne said.

"You used your position to cover up the thefts, albeit in a situation that was doomed to fail," the judge said.

He described the offending as "somewhat unsophisticated, even idiotic"

Korewha admitted the theft at the end of two meetings with superiors, after which they informed police.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of theft by a person in a special relationship.

Judge Ronayne sentenced him to five months community detention, 100 hours community work and a year's supervision.

Since being sacked by I Love Ugly, Korewha had found another job but confirmed to the judge he had not told them about the criminal charges he faced.

"You better high tail it to your work," Judge Ronayne advised. "You should have told them some time ago."

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