Takena Tiepa-Ranapia's family can lay their loved one to rest after a jury found Hiakita (George) Eruera guilty of his murder.

The jury found Eruera guilty of Mr Tiepa-Ranapia's murder on Saturday after a three-week trial.

Eruera stabbed the 19-year-old in the neck on November 30 last year at a party in Mansfield St, Ohauiti.

He had believed Mr Tiepa-Ranapia was involved in assaulting his step-daughter earlier that night at the party.


After the verdict was announced, Mr Tiepa-Ranapia's family and friends cheered quietly. Some were in tears, as were members of the jury.

Outside the court were scenes of jubilation. Family and friends hugged and cried, and many donned memorial shirts with Mr Tiepa-Ranapia's face printed on the front, which they had not been allowed to wear in the court room.

Mr Tiepa-Ranapia's family, who wanted to speak collectively, told the Bay of Plenty Times the verdict had delighted them.

"It's given closure to three long weeks and a full year of having to wait for this verdict. It has been hard on the family, especially on Takena's mother, Belle Ranapia."

The family felt "jubilation" for knowing justice had been served.

"Now we can lay him to rest."

Mr Tiepa-Ranapia's family wanted to thank a range of people for the "incredible support" given to them throughout the investigation and trial.

"We would like to thank the detectives, police officers Trevor and Mark, and ... Victim Support for all their support.

"Justice Whata was firm but fair, and his mihi at the end of the trial was heartfelt.

"Our lawyers Greg Hollister-Jones and Anna Pollett, a huge thank you to them. They have had some late nights, their job was hard. And thank you to the jury for an excellent, excellent job."

The family also wanted to thank the witnesses for their testimonies, knowing it was a difficult thing for them to do.

Mr Tiepa-Ranapia's mother Belle Ranapia had been struggling since the death of her youngest son, but had the support of her family around her throughout the ordeal.

Eruera's co-accused, his wife Hyacin Eruera and their associate Paul Taki, were found not guilty of Mr Tiepa-Ranapia's murder or manslaughter.

All three accused were found guilty of of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, a charge relating to the stabbing of Brooklyn Ormsby-Ratahi earlier on the night Mr Tiepa-Ranapia was killed.

Justice Christian Whata thanked the jury for the care taken in reaching their verdict.

The jury retired about 1.20pm on Friday and returned with a verdict before 11am Saturday.

Justice Whata also passed his condolences to the family and friends present and thanked them for their conduct in court.

George Eruera's sentencing will be held on February 19. Hyacin Eruera and Taki have been remanded in custody and their lawyers will be submitting a bail application.