A driver whose passenger died, after the vehicle they were in careered at high speed on two wheels into a firewood trailer parked on Ormond Road, Gisborne has been jailed for five years, eight months.

Norton Turei Hunia, 25, was formally sentenced in Gisborne District Court after accepting a previous indication from Judge Warren Cathcart.

In addition to the sentence he was banned from driving for six years.

Te Rito Takekerekere Brown, a 29-year-old father of five from Wairoa, died in Waikato Hospital a few days after the March 11 crash.


Hunia admitted he was responsible and told the court the ongoing punishment of his conscience was more difficult than any prison term.

Hunia pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, refusal to give a blood specimen, and driving while disqualified for a third or subsequent time — his 11th.

The crash occurred about 8.30pm as Brown was travelling with Hunia in his ute northwest along Ormond Road. Hunia's driving was erratic and at times topped speeds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour.

At the intersection with Fitzherbert Street, Hunia overtook on the right-hand side two vehicles about to enter the roundabout, which he continued through on the wrong side of the road.

He sped towards the Wi Pere Street roundabout, which he failed to negotiate and lost control; his speed there was estimated at between 136 and 147 kilometres per hour.

His ute slid sideways on two wheels narrowly missing a car in which a woman was driving with her two grandchildren.

The ute continued to slide for about 160 metres down Ormond Road before smashing into the firewood trailer.

Hunia was helped out of the wreckage, witnesses noting his speech was slurred and he smelled of cannabis and alcohol.

Brown was critically injured.

Hunia refused to be tested for intoxication.

He told police the next day he had no recollection of the incident, that he just woke up in police cells without knowing how he got there or why he was there.

The ute was later found to have no warrant of fitness but no mechanical defects.

The indicated sentence began with a starting point of six years, eight months imprisonment with an uplift of five months for Hunia's extensive history of criminal traffic offending, including two convictions for dangerous driving that resulted in prison terms during 2015 and 2016.

There was a further increase of one month for this having been committed while on bail.

Discounts totalling 18 months were given for Hunia's guilty pleas and remorse.

Prosecutor Jo Rielly said there were no victim impact statements available for the court.