A man who used his children as a human shield when police turned up to investigate a "domestic incident" can't remember what he did.

Adam Tahi Tahatuku Kete-Kawahera was in the back seat of his vehicle, parked in the driveway of his house, when police arrived on January 18.

He had been yelling abuse at his partner, police prosecutor Sergeant Rachel Willemsen told Whanganui District Court on Wednesday.

Police tried to reason with Kete-Kawahera, and he responded by verbally threatening his partner and police, as well as making pig noises.

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He used his two children as shields as he sat in the back seat, Ms Willemsen said.

Kete-Kawahera then got out of the car and approached one of the police officers with clenched fists and looking as though he was winding up to punch them.

He was told he was under arrest and while being put in handcuffs he tried to break free, struggling with police for 30-40 seconds.

In the patrol car he tried to bite another police officer.

Defence lawyer Stephanie Burlace said Kete-Kawahera was "extremely apologetic".

"He had been consuming what seems to be a fair amount of alcohol, he can't remember the incident at all," Ms Burlace said.

She said Kete-Kawahera had been working on turning his life around. Child Youth and Family Services had followed up the incident but determined it was a one-off incident, Ms Burlace said.

"He's embarrassed and somewhat horrified about where the alcohol has taken him."

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Kete-Kawahera told Ms Burlace the incident was "a real reminder as to where alcohol has led him in the past".

Judge Dugald Matheson said Kete-Kawahera needed to "make good" with his children now.

"As the father and guardian of children, you have an obligation to show an example of how to behave in the community. You failed on this night . . . you failed to the extent that you used your children as a shield for your boorish behaviour towards the police," he said.

Kete-Kawahera pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour, assaulting police and resisting police, and was sentenced to 75 hours of community work.