A man who put a work colleague in a choke hold and left him unconscious after a pre-arranged fight has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The 23-year-old, who has interim name suppression, admitted the offending before the High Court at Auckland this morning on the eve of his trial, which was due to start on Monday.

He and Gordon Puketapu Hona, 45, worked together at the Foodstuffs warehouse in Wiri and tensions became fraught when their personalities clashed.

The pair arranged a fight in a gym on the afternoon of October 17 last year and both arrived shortly before 1pm.


The defendant took his shirt off and the men advanced on each other, trading punches.

Eventually the scuffling duo ended up on the floor where the younger man got the upper hand, putting the victim in a headlock.

CCTV footage of the incident shows Hona try to get to his feet but he is eventually dragged to the ground again.

As the fight progresses, they move out of view of the cameras before the defendant emerges, puts some clothes back on and returns to work.

He told co-workers that he had left Hona unconscious on his back and when they arrived at the gym he was unresponsive.

The father of seven was pronounced dead at 2.30pm after unsuccessful CPR efforts.

It is understood Hona was overweight and had an enlarged heart among other health difficulties.

Sentencing will take place next month.


The maximum penalty for manslaughter is life imprisonment.

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