The death of a Kaikohe man over the weekend is believed to have been the result of a road-rage incident.

Christopher Vujcich, 58, died in Bay of Islands Hospital on Saturday morning, after he was confronted by a man on Kowhai Ave, Kaikohe, just after 9.30pm on Friday.

A 21-year-old man, Patrick Dennis Tarawa, from Kaikohe, was arrested and charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Tarawa appeared in the Whangarei District Court on Saturday and was remanded in custody.


Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston, said the wounding with intent charge was upgraded to manslaughter after an autopsy in Auckland on Sunday.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life imprisonment.

There is no minimum sentence, with sentencing highly dependent on the facts of the case.

Police on Kowhai Ave Kaikohe on Saturday morning, where the assault took place. Photo/Northland Age
Police on Kowhai Ave Kaikohe on Saturday morning, where the assault took place. Photo/Northland Age

Tarawa's next appearance will be in the Kaikohe District Court on January 30.

Mr Johnston said he would not comment further while the case was before the courts.

The Northern Advocate understands the sequence of events that ended in Mr Vujcich's death started with a driving incident on Friday evening.

Tarawa allegedly spoke with Mr Vujcich in Kowhai Ave, off the bottom end of Broadway, near Mangakahia Rd, before Mr Vujcich was injured.

He was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa and placed on life-support, before passing away on Saturday.


Friends and family members described Mr Vujcich as a gentle, laidback man who loved his grandchildren and his two sons, who he had raised alone through much of their childhood.

Meanwhile, a Kerikeri man is in custody and police are looking for another after a serious assault in the Bay of Islands just before 1am on Sunday.

Sergeant Ross Laurie, of Mid North police, said two offenders followed the victim to McDonald's on Kerikeri Rd, where they punched and kicked him unconscious.

The victim, a 24-year-old Kerikeri man, was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital with a suspected broken jaw and other injuries.

The attack was clearly captured on McDonald's CCTV.

One offender, aged 19, was arrested later that day and was due to appear in the Kaikohe District Court yesterday on a serious assault charge. Police would oppose bail.

Inquiries to find the second offender were continuing, Mr Laurie said.