As she glared at her mother's emotionless killer, Greg Meads, through her tears, Kimberley White spoke of how she had dreamed of her mum seeing her graduate from university.

She had also hoped her mother would one day be there to watch her walk down the aisle at her wedding and to eventually watch the children from her marriage grow up.

"Now, none of these things will ever happen because you took her away from me," she said.

"You destroyed any chance I had of leading a normal life. You took my mum away from me. For that I will never forgive you. I hope you rot in hell."

Meads was yesterday sentenced in the High Court at Hamilton to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 11 years for murdering Ms White's mother - his wife - in September 2009.

The successful Matamata horse trainer and breeder used a shotgun to shoot Helen Meads at close range in the throat in the garage of their Matamata property four days after she told him she was ending their 10-year marriage.

He later told the court that he had meant to scare his wife and did not mean to pull the trigger.

Meads stared blankly as he was ordered to pay $65,000 in reparations - an amount later described as "laughable" by Helen Meads' father, David White.

Kimberley White and her family shook their heads in disbelief in the packed public gallery as the sentence was imposed.

"Along with the Crown, we were hoping for at least 17 years for him," she told the Herald.

"He's got all his money tied up in ways to make it look like he's not rich, but he is very, very wealthy.

"He goes on about how he loves his daughter and how much she means to him, and he can't even provide financial support for her."

Justice Christopher Allan said Mrs Meads must have been "utterly terrified" during her final moments.

The shooting was "undoubtedly horrific and indeed incomprehensible".

"But I am satisfied it did not involve a high degree of brutality, depravity or callousness," he said.

David White said the sentence showed his daughter's life was "cheap".

He said he had come out of retirement to drive buses so he could support his granddaughter Samantha, 10, Meads' daughter.

Mr White said it was frustrating that evidence of the beatings Mrs Meads endured from her husband was suppressed during his trial.

"His domination and control of her started before they were married."

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said the sentence was "insignificant" and the murder was an example of an already violent man escalating his violent behaviour when his partner told him she was leaving.

"It is a common pattern and calls into question Mr Mead's defence that he never intended to harm his wife," she said.

"The sentence of 11 years seems so insignificant for the brutal act of shooting someone to death, for the horror and fear Helen would have felt in the years prior to the murder as well as just before her murder, and for the lifelong grief Helen's family will have to endure."

Kimberley White said her family would also be seeking reparations for her older brother, 24-year-old Michael Tye, who was not named as party to any compensation Meads must pay family members.

She said her younger sister Samantha understood that "daddy had killed mummy" but could not comprehend why.

"Granddad told her he [Meads] was going back to jail and she said, 'Okay, can I go back and play now?"'

Ms White doubted Meads would ever apologise for what he had done.

"I have waited so long to have my say, I've said what I said and I can move on.

"When he gets out, I will definitely be very wary of where I go. But for now, I don't have any fear while he has been put away."

Mr White said Meads had assets of close to $40 million yet had not paid any child support for Samantha apart from a few months of payments that ended when he was granted bail early last year.