A Dunedin man who stabbed his ex-wife's friend 14 times and left her for dead has been jailed for a decade.

Daryen Leslie John Owens, 44, appeared in the High Court at Dunedin today having previously pleaded guilty to attempted murder.

Alongside the prison term, Justice Rachel Dunningham imposed a minimum non-parole period of five years to reflect the severity of the crime.

"This was particularly horrific offending and I get no real sense you understand the harm you've caused to your victim," the judge said.

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Early on February 7, 2016, Owens called his ex-wife Leanne Donaldson from outside her Cutten St house.

The pair spoke briefly on the phone during which he told her the victim, who was asleep on the couch at the time, was "going to get a f***** lesson that she would never forget".

Moments later, Donaldson woke her friend and said there was someone at the door.

She hid in the kitchen while the victim went to see who it was.

Owens grabbed the friend by the throat, pushed her into a wall, head-butted her and stabbed her in the shoulder.

The 13 wounds that followed lacerated the woman's liver, punctured her lung, penetrated the muscles beside her spine and one to her abdomen resulted in her stomach lining protruding from her skin.

As the victim bled, Owens warned his ex-wife not to call emergency services.

"Don't you ring them" he said.

Justice Dunningham said the only reason Owens left the house was because he thought he had "achieved his objective".

He later told a friend he had "finished her off", the judge noted.

Today, the victim, visibly trembling and battling to hold back tears, confronted the man who tried to end her life.

"Before the attack I was a confident woman," she said.

"I turned into a shell of what I used to be. I have severe anxiety and sometimes feel like I can't leave my house."

She had been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder and now suffered depression, as well as excruciating migraines several times a month.

The physical wounds may have healed but the victim had struggled to come to terms with the ordeal.

"I can't look in the mirror at my scars or wear dresses that show the scars because they're a constant reminder of what happened," she said.

"There are times I don't want to live any more."

Crown prosecutor Richard Smith said Owens' offending was aggravated by the fact he had been convicted of home-invasion-type offending in 2014.

The court heard how the defendant entered an address from which he had been trespassed and attacked the occupants.

But Justice Dunningham did not uplift the sentence for that fact.

However, she was keen to stress the seriousness of Owens' actions.

"The attack was frenzied, ongoing and involved the use of significant force," she said.

"There were serious injuries to the victim and it's fortunate she survived."