A Hastings father made his five-year-old son fetch a hammer and kneel to be "executed" as punishment for running around a mosque during prayers.

Kiimatangiroa​ Junior Samuel, 41, pleaded guilty to threatening to kill or cause grievous bodily harm over the mock execution, and guilty to nine other charges of assaulting his children, Fairfax reports.

The incident happened on February 26, after Samuel and his four children came back from the Hastings mosque. The crying child was told to get a hammer and kneel on the floor.

Samuel's other three children, 7, 9 and 10 years old, were told to fetch sheets so he wouldn't get blood on the floor before telling them to close their eyes.

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Samuel had also punched his nine-year-old daughter, threw car keys at his children and regularly beat them with a broom. Child Youth and Family were alerted to the violence in March by the children's school.

Judge Max Courtney said it was "the cruellest set of facts I have ever come across" and all the children had suffered psychologically from their father's treatment, Fairfax reported.

Samuel was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.