A Whanganui man is being sentenced for slaughtering a farmer's sheep and driving off with it in broad daylight.

Kiwa Matthew Tangaroa pleaded guilty to theft of animals and possessing a unlicensed firearm when he appeared in the Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Stephen Butler said on December 4, 2017 around 1pm Tangaroa parked beside the farmer's paddock with two associates.

"[Tangaroa] captured the sheep, killed it, skinned it in the paddock and then dragged it to his ute and drove off with it."


Mr Butler said a local beekeeper who knows the victim saw Tangaroa drive off and immediately reported the incident to the police.

"At around 9am on December 20, police conducted a search warrant of Tangaroa's address and located a .22 riffle that was unlicensed . . . and arrested him for the theft of the sheep."

The sheep was estimated to be worth $150.

Defence lawyer Stephanie Burlace said he was apologetic and knew it was the wrong thing to do.

"There was some financial issues but he doesn't want to put any of that forward because that's no excuse," Ms Burlace said.

Judge Philip Crayton said he had seen a copy of the victim impact statement that identified the financial loss and harm caused.

"Farmers and those who have land unfortunately cannot have an eye on all their animals and therefore are a vulnerable target. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable by any means," Judge Crayton told Tangaroa.

Tangaroa was convicted and sentenced to 100 hours of community work and ordered to pay reparation.