The eldest of a group of young teens who stole a light truck car from Gisborne and drove to Napier to rob a dairy has been spared a jail sentence by a judge putting his faith in the youth's attempts to redeem himself.

In Napier District Court on Friday, Judge Geoff Rea sentenced 17-year-old Tangaroa Moana to 11 months' home detention, with post-sentence conditions for a further six months for his role in the December 31, 2018, Westshore Corner Store robbery, but warned of the consequences of even one slip-up.

Judge Rea used a starting point of five years' jail before discounts for previous good behaviour, with no criminal history, and for the early guilty plea and other factors.

The boy was then told he could still have been off to jail for a year and 10 months, but Judge Rea said Moana had taken his opportunities since the initial court appearances.


"It's not perfect," Judge Rea said. "But you're not supposed to be perfect at 17. It may not seem like it, but you've had a very good result. Don't go away and blow it now."

Two others, aged 14 and 15 at the time, have appeared in the Youth Court in relation to the robbery.

According to a summary, the three drove to Napier during the night and parked-up and slept for a few hours before deciding on their raid after dawn.

Moana and one of the accomplices were brandishing a hammer as they burst into the dairy, and the third followed, grabbing the shopkeeper by the scruff behind the counter and demanding he open the till.

All three grabbed cash, one of the young robbers stole about 10 packets of cigarettes, and Moana used the hammer to smash the top of an ice cream cabinet as he fled and drove-off with his accomplices towards Bay View.

They stopped at a service station for petrol and were then followed by police for about 70km, including a 38km pursuit after extra police, including a dog and handler.

Moana drove at speeds up to 140km/h, swerving around road spikes laid by police in at attempt to stop the boys, and it ended when the truck ran into the rear of another motorists' vehicle and the three were apprehended.