The family of an 11-year-old boy shot dead by a 12-year-old relative say they hope his killer will make changes to his life.

Triston Jermaine Papuni died after being shot at an East Cape farm in July last year.

In the High Court at Gisborne yesterday, the now 14-year-old boy was jailed for 20 months. He has permanent name suppression.

His father, who also has name suppression, has been sentenced to two years in jail for attempting to pervert the course of justice after he tried to cover up details of how Triston died.

Outside the court yesterday, a spokesman for Triston's family, Jason Papuni, said the family hoped the teenager would make changes to his life.

"We hope that the justice decision is able to deliver those services that Triston's killer so obviously needs.

"We hope he is open to receiving support from the various agencies that are available to him."

Mr Papuni said it had been hard for Triston's family to live near the killer and his immediate family.

Rumours within the community had also been difficult to handle, Mr Papuni said, as some suggested Triston had shot himself.

"It has been a torment to us that those sentenced today have remained in the community since the death of Triston," he said.

"Before we buried Triston, we knew that his death was not an accident, and certainly the rumour of his having committed suicide was a malicious and cruel idea.

"Triston's parents and brothers and family - sheltered as they were by family and friends - have struggled with emotions that no family should ever have to experience."

At the court yesterday, family members held photos of a smiling Triston, while others cried.

Justice Forrest Miller told the 14-year-old the starting point on the charge of manslaughter was five and a half years., but he was receiving a large discount because of his age, guilty plea and remorse.

The sentence will be served in a youth justice facility.

Justice Miller told the father he was receiving a six-month discount because of his guilty plea and remorse.

Home detention was not a suitable option in either case.

Mr Papuni said the whole situation had been hard on the extended family.