The victim of a coward's punch has died - more than a year after a drunken brawl ended with his skull cracked and bleeding on to the concrete outside a Denny's restaurant in South Auckland.

George Siaosi was farewelled in the weekend by family and friends at a funeral "filled with lots of awesome singing" more than a year after the assault.

Police say they cannot charge his attacker over the death.

The attack on Siaosi occurred about 3am on September 26, 2015 and was labelled "macho bullshit" by police at the time.


The fight followed an alcohol-fuelled argument in a bar that continued on the streets outside the restaurant in Manukau in the early hours of the morning.

It ended after George Siaosi, 36, took a double-blow to the head, tripped and fell down the stairs and cracked his head on the concrete in the carpark.

He underwent brain surgery, was in a coma for several days and about two months into his recovery suffered a major stroke that left him paralysed down the right side of his body and unable to hold a conversation.

The Auckland man, who never made a full recovery, died early this year after months of rehab where he had to learn again how to walk, talk and perform other basic functions.

Close friend of 15 years and former partner Melissa Osborne said Siaosi "had a big, beautiful smile with his gorgeous dimples" before the attack.

"He'd walk into a room and everyone would smile. He was a clown and always made us laugh and sometimes we'd end up in stitches from laughing too much," she said.

"He was a special person with a big heart and he always did things for others."

Osborne said she was sad Siaosi had died but was happy he was now at peace.

"Not fair ... but God takes the best first," she said.

The teen who threw the double punch, Pelepesite Poai, 19, plead guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard and was sentenced to a year's home detention - the maximum term - and 300 hours of community work.

Poai's lawyer Sam Galler stressed his client's remorse in court and put his actions down to "immature bravado".

Siaosi's partner, Melissa Ansin. announced his death on his Facebook page.

"On behalf of my partner George and his family, I am deeply sorry to inform everyone that we lost our George early this morning," she wrote.

"We are still unsure of the cause."

Detective Inspector Gary Lendrum said Counties Manukau Police staff were "deeply saddened" to hear of Siaosi's death.

"Our staff spent a lot of time with George's wider family during our investigation and our deepest sympathies are with them during this difficult time.

"No further criminal proceedings can be brought in relation to this matter."

Siaosi's family have no yet commented on his death.