Key Points:

An arsonist who burned down Otaki's historic Rangiatea Church was jailed for four years when he appeared in Palmerston District Court today.

Francis Shaw, 42, a self-styled Maori radical, was found guilty on August 25, in a retrial.

He was jailed for a similar period after being found guilty at his first trial in 2005. But the conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal and the retrial ordered.

The arson occurred in 1995. The church, built in 1851, was a protected building regarded as a national treasure, and had especially fine tukutuku panels.

The cost of the fire was estimated at $3 million.

A jury at Palmerston North District Court took just over two hours to find the case proved against Shaw, who defended himself, in last month's six-day trial.

When asked for his plea, Shaw replied: "Do I look like a slave to white middle-class New Zealand? What business is it to you?"

At jury selection, he objected to all the "Pakeha" names called.

He then told Judge Alastair Garland to "hurry up and stand me down", threatening to jump over the dock and "biff" him.

He was ordered to the cells and told he would be allowed back only if he apologised for his behaviour.

He reappeared in court the next day but instead of apologising to the court, he ended up making "an explanation for the anger".

Shaw blamed "cultural issues" for his outbursts.

Rangiatea Church has since been rebuilt but historic carvings were lost.

- NZPA