Key Points:

Family violence experts are "appalled" at a manslaughter verdict in the case of a man who bludgeoned his wife to death with a cricket bat after he found sexually explicit photos on her cellphone.

Tevita Noa, 38, of Flaxmere, Hastings, was yesterday found not guilty of he murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Thelma Johanna Thompson, his 26-year-old wife of three years and mother of their two children, in October 2005.

Noa, who denied both charges, was remanded in custody for sentencing on February 2.

The High Court at Napier was told that Noa kicked his wife and struck her four or five times with a cricket bat after they argued over her plans to move to Auckland with their children.

The jury was also told about the couple's troubled relationship, and Noa's discovery of text messages and pictures on her cellphone, including sexually explicit images of another man.

Brian Gardner, national manager of the National Network of Stopping Violence Services, said the verdict sent a message that violence was acceptable if people were upset enough.

"Violence is never justified. Men who use domestic violence commonly justify their behaviour by saying 'she asked for it'. This verdict does the same -- blames the victim.

"It's not this woman's fault that she is dead, it's his. People experience provocation every day of their lives and do not assault and murder," he said.

Mr Gardner said lawyers needed to "get real" about domestic violence in New Zealand, and refuse to use a defence such as provocation.