An Aucklander who stabbed another patron with a knife inside a Tauranga nightclub had been deported back to New Zealand from Australia two months earlier.

Rocky Ronaki, 31, was sentenced to six years in prison in the Tauranga District Court yesterday after being found guilty of a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at a jury trial in October.

The jury found Ronaki stabbed Logan Abbott with a knife inside the smoking area of Bahama Hut during a brief, violent scuffle on October 1, 2017.

Abbott's liver was damaged in the attack. He had since made a full recovery.


Ronaki claimed he brandished the knife at Abbott only to protect his brother Kiore Ronaki and his sister-in-law and he did not intend to hurt anyone.

The court heard yesterday that the stabbing happened only a few weeks after Ronaki was deported back to New Zealand from Australia due to his criminal record in that country.

Lawyer David Bates asked Judge Thomas Ingram to take Abbott's role in the assault into account and said he could have avoided being stabbed if he had not interfered.

Judge Ingram said he accepted Ronaki may have believed he was acting in defence of his younger brother but the force used was excessive and unwarranted.

"There is no escaping the fact that you opened up the knife and deliberately used it as the security guards had almost broken up the fight. The victim had no idea he was under attack from you.

"Fortunately, Mr Abbott has fully recovered from his injuries but a few inches either side of the stab wound we could easily be talking about a murder charge."

Ronaki's brother Kiore Ronaki was found guilty at the same trial of a charge of assault with intent to injure after he punched a woman and knocked her unconscious.

He was sentenced to 18-months' prison and released almost immediately because of the time he had already spent in custody awaiting trial.