The lives of a grief-stricken family of a young woman killed after being dragged by a car down a Hamilton street will never be the same as they struggle to come to terms with her death nearly two years on.
Kaeo man Quintin Heihei was today sentenced to one charge of dangerous driving causing the death of 24-year-old Takotoroa Māreikura in a suburban Hamilton street.
Judge Kim Saunders sentenced the 30-year-old to nine months' home detention and disqualified him from driving for two years.
Māreikura had just moved to Hamilton in late September 2018.
The court heard how she'd met Heihei, 30, on social media and the pair finally got to meet in person on the night of September 29.
They spent the day together drinking and visiting various homes in Hamilton, before heading to her sister's house in Charlemont St.
However, as they left, they had an argument about who was going to pay for a taxi. Heihei walked over to his car while Māreikura got out of the taxi.
Heihei got in his car and began reversing out of a driveway. Māreikura approached the front passenger door, opening it and then tried to get in.
But Heihei didn't stop and Māreikura was carried by the movement of his car for a short time before falling onto the road and hitting her head.
Heihei ran to her aid and moved her off the road.
Māreikura would succumb to her injuries in hospital 24 hours later.
Heihei's counsel, Jess Tarrant, submitted that her client had shown genuine remorse since the incident, even as the victim impact statements were read today.
"He holds significant guilt and is unable to forgive himself for the tragic incident ... he will continue to carry this guilt for the rest of his life, much like the victim's family themselves."
Crown prosecutor Sarah Hames said although Heihei was brought up surrounded by violence, he was never targeted himself and his mother had taught him right from wrong.
"The crown observes that although Mr Heihei's background does come into play there is not a substantial explanation nor a nexus for his own personal choices that have disadvantaged him."
His background was likened by the pre-sentence writer to that of growing up in a "Once Were Warriors" household; his father was in the Black Power, his mother was beaten and drugs and alcohol were rife.
However, Judge Saunders noted that despite that his mother loved him and was in court today to support him.
He had a job in the building industry and was keen to eventually move to Gisborne.
The judge felt for the grief-stricken whanau of Māreikura, including her mother, of Rotorua, and sister, stating it had been a time of "great sadness and conflicting emotions for them".
"I will acknowledge their grief and pain. Your conduct that day has undoubtedly turned their lives upside down and it will never be the same.
"The consequences to her sister have been harrowing."
She said it wasn't a case where a young woman was killed because of bad driving or drunk driving, although he had been drinking.
"I accept the decision to keep driving once Māreikura had tried to get into your car was impulsive and was deeply regretted by you.
"This was an accident but one with tragic consequences. You should have stopped and let her get in your car."
Heihei will serve his sentence at his mother's Kaikohe home.