An argument over the theft of a car for non-payment of a gang "tax" preceded the shooting of a man during violence between Northland gang members.

Details leading up to the death of Tribesmen gang member Henry "John Boy" Harris on October 18, 2016, were revealed in the High Court at Whangārei where two men appeared for sentencing.

Walter Reid Ngaau, 55, and Adam Owen Dodd, 40, were initially charged with murder but both pleaded guilty last week to a lesser charge of unlawful assembly.

Dodd pleaded guilty to another charge of theft of a motor vehicle - a 2007 Holden Commodore he stole from a fellow Tribesmen gang member in lieu of an unpaid debt he believed that person owed.

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Dodd was sentenced to 20 months in jail on both charges while Ngaau got six months.

Harris, 37, died after being dropped off at Whangarei St John Ambulance station early on October 18, 2016, with a gunshot wound.

In court on Thursday, Justice Kit Toogood said a Tribesmen member was transferred from Whangārei to the gang's Far North chapter in 2015.

He said the Whangārei chapter wanted a payment for that transfer, commonly known in gang circles as "taxing", but it would not be tolerated by courts.

Dodd went to the man's house and after speaking to him for 20 minutes, told him he would take the Holden Commodore. The car was owned by the man's partner.

The man contacted Tribesmen members in the Far North but negotiations failed to resolve the matter.

Justice Toogood said about 3.15am on October 18, 2016, several Tribesmen members from the Far North retrieved the car and took it back to its owner.

Then Dodd and others, in two separate cars, went to where the car was and violence erupted.

A firearm was discharged and Harris and another person were injured. Harris later died from his injuries.

Justice Toogood said although Dodd and Ngaau were not directly responsible for the death, both played a part and their conduct must be denounced.

The victim impact statement of Harris' 69-year-old mother was read out in court. She said the stupidity of what happened to her "baby son" was unbelievable.

Harris' 6-year-old son, she said, made necklaces and drew pictures and took them to the cemetery.

Harris' brother, in his victim impact statement, said the deceased had a good sense of humour and always made time available for those around him. His daughters wouldn't have their father walk them down the aisle, he said.

Dodd's brother, Nicky Bryan Dodd, 41, is still facing one charge of murder and additional charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of explosives. His jury trial will start on September 17.