A man who attacked a police officer and a handcuffed person on New Year's Eve has been sentenced to community work and supervision.

Fordson Alexander, 19, was in Taupo for New Year's with a group of about 10 others.

The group had been drinking, police prosecutor Sergeant Rachel Willemsen told the Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

A friend of Alexander's got into a "fist fight" with another person, who was 16 years old and was not part of the group, but had also been drinking.

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Police split up the fight and arrested the two people.

The other person was "calm and compliant" as they were being arrested, but Alexander "repeatedly approached" him and made threats, Ms Willemsen said.

They were handcuffed at the time.

Alexander ran at the victim and began swearing and throwing "haymaker" punches at his face, landing some of them.

Ms Willemsen said the hits were hard enough to make "loud thuds" and force the victim's head back. He did not fall down, as the police officer was holding him up.

The officer pulled the victim out of the way, and Alexander turned his fists to him instead.

Three blows glanced off the officer's face, Ms Willemsen said.

Alexander stopped his attack when a Taser was produced.

He pleaded guilty to assaulting police and assault with intent to injure.

Defence lawyer Harete Hipango said Alexander had no previous convictions, and described the offending as "abominable behaviour".

"This is an abomination, the offending, alcohol-fuelled," she said.

Judge Dugald Matheson said it was an "explosive situation that wasn't helped by your behaviour at all".

"Bad behaviour, but let's get on with it," he said.

Judge Matheson sentenced Alexander to nine months of supervision and 175 hours of community work.