An attack on a young father who died after being stabbed took just minutes, witnesses told a court yesterday.

Shayd Robinson, 20, is on trial in the High Court at Wellington accused of murdering Stokes Valley man Aaron Hadfield.

The 27-year-old father of two had been picking up medicine for one of his children on January 26 when he was attacked in an alleged road rage incident by Robinson and his friend William Stark.

Witness Adam Huaki said he was at his house when he heard a loud thud and swearing and saw two young men apparently punching the driver of the car.

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Mr Huaki said that after the assault the bleeding driver got out of the vehicle.

Another witness, Colin Berkett, said the incident lasted less than two minutes.

"I thought he had a blood nose ... but then I was told he was stabbed."

Defence lawyer Mike Antunovic said Robinson admitted he stabbed Mr Hadfield, but it was in self-defence. The trial continues.