A nephew of Hone Harawira has been jailed for chasing a boy into his home and beating him in his bedroom before stealing a whale bone necklace.
Mau Harawira - a son of anti-violence campaigner Hinewhare Harawira - was sentenced to three years and two months in jail when he appeared at the Auckland District Court today.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to theft and injuring with intent to injure.
The court heard how the 30-year-old had been drinking with a friend at an Auckland beach when the pair believed they had been offended by a 12-year-old playing nearby.
They chased him to his house and went inside, where they knocked him to the ground and kicked him.
They then dragged him onto a balcony and the beating stopped only when a passerby noticed the violence.
Judge David Harvey said the boy's bedroom is the one room where he should have been safe.
"After it was over, you helped yourself to a number of items.''
They included a whale bone taonga made by a relative of the boy.
Judge Harvey described Harawira as a "gutless cowardly thug''.
He said the boy was a small 12-year-old while Harawira and his friend were large, drunk men.
The boy was taken to hospital for a check-up. Doctors found bruising to his cheek, nose and chest.
Harawira's lawyer Belinda Sellars said the incident marked a "turning point'' in her client's life.
"He's said in the [pre-sentence] report that he has basically wasted 30 years of his life.''
Ms Sellars said Harawira was also willing to pay reparations if he was not sent to jail.
But in sentencing, Judge Harvey said a message needed to be sent to the community that home invasions would not be tolerated.
"We live in a violent society _ there is no doubt about that, and violence involving children is a characteristic of our community that is outrageous and must be deplored.''