A 21-year-old has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death in January of Kaikohe resident Christopher Vujcich.

Patrick Dennis Tarawa, also of Kaikohe, entered his plea in the High Court at Whangārei on Tuesday.

Vujcich was believed to have been the victim of road rage incident resulting from a relatively minor driving error, when he pulled out in front of another motorist.

The other driver allegedly followed him to Kowhai Ave and confronted him when he pulled into a driveway. As Vujcich, 58, turned away to go inside, he was the victim of a coward's punch from behind.

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He died in the Bay of Islands Hospital the next morning.

Police on Kowhai St, Kaikohe opposite the driveway where Christopher Vujcich was king-hit and later died in hospital. Photo/Supplied
Police on Kowhai St, Kaikohe opposite the driveway where Christopher Vujcich was king-hit and later died in hospital. Photo/Supplied

Tarawa was arrested and initially charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in the January 19 incident.

He was remanded in custody after his first appearance in the Whangārei District Court.

The wounding charge was upgraded to manslaughter after an autopsy in Auckland.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life imprisonment.

In the High Court on Tuesday Justice Gerard van Bohemen issued a three strikes warning to Tarawa because manslaughter is a qualifying violence offence.

Tarawa's trial date of November 19 was vacated and his bail was continued until his sentencing on December 6.

Many people turned to Facebook to express their anger, sorrow, affection and respect for Vujcich and to offer support to his family in the days following his death.

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