Gustav Otto Sanft has been found guilty of his daughter's manslaughter after shooting her in the head with a sawn-off shotgun.

Sanft, 26, has been on trial at the High Court in Auckland after he accidentally killed two-year-old Amokura Daniels-Sanft last year.

The jury today took four hours to determine Sanft's fate, concluding the two-week-long trial.

As the jury read out the guilty verdict, Sanft's wife and others in the public gallery cried, while some called to him to "stay strong".

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Sanft had already pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a pistol, as the sawn-off shotgun was technically classified.

The blast that echoed through a Favona street on June 2 last year struck Amokura Daniels-Sanft at close range, leaving her father Gustav Sanft, 26, stunned and inconsolable.

He rushed to cradle her in his arms, howling, wailing and crying out, "I shot her".

Amokura's mother, Julia Daniels, family friends and police would all be brought to tears by the tragic scene that day.

No one claims Sanft meant to shoot his daughter.

Amokura Daniels-Swift aged 2 June 2017 at her home on Favona Road Mangere. She was shot in the head by her father Gustav Sanft who was holding a sawn-off shotgun. Photo / Supplied
Amokura Daniels-Swift aged 2 June 2017 at her home on Favona Road Mangere. She was shot in the head by her father Gustav Sanft who was holding a sawn-off shotgun. Photo / Supplied

Crown prosecutors said his failure to handle the gun safely caused Amokura's death. Sanft's defence team said the gun was so unsafe, it instead was to blame.

Prosecutor Katie Hogan said Sanft had failed to check if the weapon was loaded, if its safety catch was on, and he not only held the weapon too close to his daughter but pointed it at her and pulled the trigger, perhaps to jokingly scare her for "playing up".

Any one of these actions was enough to convict him of manslaughter for unlawfully breaching his duty of care when handling a dangerous object, she said.

Sanft also had no firearms licence and stored the gun for months in an unlocked cupboard, where it was discovered at one point by two unsupervised children.

That Sanft had not expected the gun to fire on June 2, made the case particularly tragic, but did not lessen his guilt, Ms Hogan said.

Sanft's lawyer Phil Hamlin denied he deliberately pointed the weapon at his daughter or pulled the trigger.

Far from being reckless, Sanft had instead been waiting to throw the gun into a rubbish bin and was holding it only minutes before it went off unexpectedly in his hands.

Experts had shown this could happen because the gun sometimes fired when its hammer was flicked, even if the trigger was not pulled, Mr Hamlin said.

But prosecutor Katie Hogan contested this, saying no witness in the trial, including Sanft, had testified the hammer was either flicked or knocked.

Ultimately, both the Crown and defence acknowledge Sanft made a tragic mistake that day.

A hulking man standing well over 1.82m, it is a mistake he spent much of his trial gently sobbing about, saying the shooting happened too fast for him to remember exactly what happened.

"How do you accidentally shoot a kid, let alone my own child," he said while on the witness stand.

He will be sentenced on September 7.

- By Ben Leahy of NZN