A Dunedin man who came home from a bar in a rage and throttled his partner while her horrified daughter watched says he will not give up the pub.

The 32-year-old defendant said he would just take less money there in future, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

"I find that unusual and extremely concerning, personally," Judge Kevin Phillips said.

The man, who is a local representative in two sports, had been playing pool and drinking heavily on the night of April 15.

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His partner and her 9-year-old daughter were so scared by his aggressive manner when he arrived home that they left the house.

The pair have name suppression, so the identity of the defendant cannot be revealed.

They returned an hour later and were again confronted by the intoxicated man.

Hiding in the girl's bedroom did little to deter him.

The defendant immediately grabbed a cellphone from his stepdaughter and hurled it into the lounge.

"Do you want a punch in the head?" he yelled at her.

The mother passed her phone to the girl and instructed her to call police, then lunged at the defendant when he tried to intervene.

He responded by pushing her backwards on to the bed, pinning her down and gripping her throat with both hands.

"After about 15 seconds he released his grip, pulled [the victim] off the bed on to the floor and began punching and kicking her about the body and continued to yell at her, saying he would kill her," a police summary said.

As the woman shielded herself, her daughter covered herself in clothes and hid under a table in the room while watching the assault. When the defendant finally relented, the girl went over and held her mother, the court heard.

Police arrived shortly afterwards and the man initially denied the attack, claiming he would never hurt the pair.

At a restorative-justice conference he said he had little memory of the episode but pleaded guilty to assaulting a female, threatening to kill and threatening to do GBH.

"You just don't want to recall what you did, I think," Judge Phillips said.

Counsel Deborah Henderson said her client was committed to relationship counselling and was prepared to "do whatever it takes to make amends".

That did not appear to include abstaining from alcohol, the judge said.

"You say you have had no alcohol since the incident but you're already planning on going back to the pub; but you'll take less money with you," he said.

"It appears to me you use the pub as an escape route and your drinking is at the least highly problematic."

The victim suffered only minor injuries from the attack. Had they been any more severe, the defendant would have been locked up, Judge Phillips said.

The man, who had no previous convictions, was sentenced to three months' community detention and nine months' supervision.