A Bay father and son have admitted assaulting a Matakana Island man.

Hemi Jimi Paki, 59, and Aidyn Paki, 23, each pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault in the Tauranga District Court yesterday.

Freedom James Te Patu-Taikato, 22, died on Matakana Island on New Year's Day this year.

The police summary of facts revealed both men were drinking alcohol with the victim, as well as family members and friends, at a makeshift camp on the island on December 31 and January 1.


Sometime during the evening, Te Patu-Taikato went to sleep in a parked vehicle.

About 11am on January 1, Hemi Paki and another man drove Te Patu-Taikato home and when Te Patu-Taikato was taken out of the vehicle he was struggling to stand up.

At this time, Te Patu-Taikato had a swollen top lip, bruising and swelling around his eye.

As he was laid onto the lawn at his home, Te Patu-Taikato's arms and legs began thrashing around. He died a short time later.

Aidyn Paki told police that Te Patu-Taikato had been taking alcoholic drinks that belonged to other people at the camp, and that he saw him take somebody's beer bottle off a table.

He grabbed the bottle off Te Patu-Taikato, then backhanded him with his right hand. He was still holding the bottle, which hit Te Patu-Taikato in the mouth.

Te Patu-Taikato fell to the ground and was helped back to his feet.

Aidyn Paki said Te Patu-Taikato fell on to a tent a few minutes later, so he helped put him into a parked vehicle and told him to go to sleep.


Hemi Paki told police when he saw Te Patu-Taikato lying on the ground around midnight, he dragged him to the parked vehicle, put him inside and told him to go to sleep.

The next morning, when he told Te Patu-Taikato he was going to take him home to his grandparents' address, he "became argumentative" and wanted to stay at the camp.

He backhanded Te Patu-Taikato in the face, told him to "shut up", and drove him home.

On a scale of one to five, with five being hard enough to knock the victim's head back, he told police he hit him with a "three or four" strength slap.

Judge Thomas Ingram remanded both men on bail for sentencing on September 10.

Outside court, Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend the investigation into Te Patu-Taikato's death was continuing.