A father and son who admitted assaulting a Matakana Island man who later died have each been sentenced to nine months' supervision to help them address their alcohol use.

Hemi Jimi Paki, 59, and Aidyn Paki, 23, were sentenced in the Tauranga District Court yesterday after they earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of assault each.

Their victim, Freedom James Te Patu-Taikato, 22, died on Matakana Island on January 1 after having several seizures, the court heard.

Before the assault, Aidyn Paki was 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.

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Aidyn Paki told police the victim was taking alcoholic drinks that did not belong to him.

He grabbed a bottle off Te Patu-Taikato and backhanded him with his right hand while still holding the bottle, which hit the victim in the mouth and he fell to the ground.

A few minutes later Te Patu-Taikato fell on to a tent and was helped into a parked vehicle and told to go to sleep, the court heard.

The next morning, when Hemi Paki 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.

Hemi Paki said he backhanded him in the face and told him "to shut up" and drove him home.

About 11am on January 1, Hemi Paki and another man drove Te Patu-Taikato home and when the deceased 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. The victim died a short time later.

Hemi Paki's lawyer Bill Nabney urged Judge Glen Marshall to impose a sentence of supervision and community work but "no sterner" penalty.

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Nabney said his client "deeply regretted" his actions and apologised to Te Patu-Taikato's whānau at a restorative justice meeting and accepted he needed alcohol counselling.

Aidyn Paki's lawyer Matthew Bates said his client was "acutely aware" of the devastating impact of his offending against his "good friend" on the deceased's whānau.

"He is also aware there are two different tones in the restorative justice meeting reports and Aidyn is going to work hard to earn their forgiveness and not re-offend," he said.

Bates said a sentence of supervision would help his client to address anger management issues as well as his alcohol and cannabis use.

Judge Marshall told the Pakis a sentence of supervision was entirely appropriate.

"It was clear alcohol was at the centre of what happened, and had clouded their judgment. But drinking is not an excuse as no one forced the drink down your throats.

"However, it cannot be said any of your actions led to Freedom's death. But it's a sorry state of affairs that Freedom's last few hours involved you both being disrespectful to him when you should have looked after him.

"Nothing this court does can bring Freedom back, but some members of his whānau will never think the sentences I impose will be harsh enough, while others don't want any penalty imposed."

Hemi Paki was also sentenced to 125 hours of community work.