A man who murdered his daughter in a Bay of Plenty river has been jailed for life.
Tewi Daniel Savage, an electrician, killed two-year-old Arnica Savage in the Rangitāiki River, at Te Mahoe south of Whakatāne, in 2018.
The 35-year-old was sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua this morningand will have a minimum non-parole period of 14 years.
Savage was found guilty at trial earlier this year after pleading not guilty to murder in 2018.
On July 1, 2018, Tewi Savage went for a walk with Arnica at the river to calm down after being in a heated argument with her mother, Santana Moses.
He took her out into the cold water, held her under and let her go, leading to her asphyxiation.
Savage and Moses had been together for 15 years but their relationship ended three months earlier.
Arnica was the second-youngest of their five children.
Police were called to the Matahina Dam area about 6pm and, after an extensive search and rescue operation, Arnica's body was found in the river about 11pm.
Moses cried, and Savage remained unemotional, as Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett read out extracts of victim impact statements.
Moses' statement said: "Every morning when I wake up... I don't want to be here" and wondered when she would get peace.
She said she drank and smoked a lot to numb her pain, and two to three days a week she found it difficult to get out of bed.
Moses spoke lovingly of her daughter and the joy she brought to the family, Pollett said.
Arnica's older brother's statement said before Arnica died, his life with his family was better, with plenty of food and a lot of "chill" time.
Pollett referred to parts of the statement that said the teen was "sad, angry and lost" the night his sister died.
At her tangi, it was "hard for him to stop crying".
"Nothing felt normal without her."
He said he often had nightmares and couldn't sleep, thinking about what happened to Arnica.
He missed her and said her death had changed his mother.
Pollett said the statements summarised "the true impact on this family".
Defence lawyer Shane Tait said Savage was suffering undiagnosed bipolar when he killed his daughter and had genuine remorse and sorrow.
However, he acknowledged murdering a child "can only be described as one of the most grave offences in the law books".
Savage addressed the court in Māori, beginning by saying: "Aroha mai, aroha mai, aroha mai".
His voice shook, he cried, and he struggled to get the words out as he apologised.
Savage turned to victims and his family in the public gallery multiple times.
He then spoke in English stating: "I only have one word to say, it's sorry".
Justice Paul Davison, QC, said Savage has caused the death of "a beautiful child" with "life full of promise that lay ahead of her".
He said Arnica was a "particularly vulnerable little girl" and her death was "an appalling tragedy".
Arnica had been a "determined, generous and loving in life so far" and "adored" her father, Justice Davison said.
He said Savage had been diagnosed with as manic depression and bipolar disorder after the murder, but the jury did not believe he was insane.
However, Davison said Savage's mental disorder reduced his moral culpability "significantly".
He read out the summary of facts, stating that Moses had started a relationship with another man, who had been a close friend of Savage's and held hope of reconciliation.
She had said she was not going to return to live with Savage.
The night before Arnica's death, Tewi Savage's father said he was "f***** in the head" and disturbed.
Savage woke five times in the night, loudly singing songs and shouting: "They're coming to get me".
His parents, who lived next door, had to help him settle and fall asleep again.
Moses had also told Savage she was worried about his mental health.
On July 1, she told him she wanted to move to Australia, which angered Savage.
He went for a walk to cool off about 4pm and told Moses to "get the f*** out of his way".
Arnica said she wanted to go with him and Savage put her in her pram.
He took a book of religious writing with him.
His parents became concerned when he did not return by dark and they were joined by neighbours and others in the village to look for Savage and his daughter.
They found his clothing, her pram and blanket and eventually heard him calling out.
He was naked standing in thick blackberry bushes.
Savage said he had "f***** up" and went into the river and let Arnica go.
He also told police this and they found Arnica's body 2.5km downstream.
He had previous convictions for violent offending for which he had community-based sentences but none were against children.
Savage would spend his life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 14 years.