The family of the 19-year-old killed at an Auckland paper factory is devastated the co-worker responsible for his death was sentenced to home detention and revealed the victim was intending on quitting the job.

Hamuwera (Hamu) Holloway's brother, Janko Orgovan, 33, told the Herald on Sunday he is heartbroken he couldn't protect his 1.89m baby brother who loved meat pies and had the "biggest heart".

Holloway had told his family he was going to leave his job and look for work elsewhere before a fight broke out between him and a co-worker and his life was cut short.

Lima Terry Feleti, 18, pleaded guilty to killing Hamuwera Holloway, 19, last year.

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"He gets to eat his mother's cooking and has a second chance at life. My brother doesn't," Orgovan said.

"Do the crime do the time, it's as simple as that. When the judge says jail won't benefit Lima, it's not there to benefit him it's there to deter him - that's what jail is. "

Feleti was originally charged with assault with a weapon but police later upgraded the charge to manslaughter. Last week he was sentenced to 10 months' home detention.

The spat between the two men started before 8.40pm on September 7 while they were working at a cardboard splitting machine at Charta Packaging in East Tamaki.

"You were feeding cardboard though the machine causing it to fall out and on to the ground. Annoyed, Mr Holloway picked it up and threw it at you," Justice Kit Toogood told the court.

The men started to row before another worker intervened and urged them not to fight because they could lose their jobs. Later on, Feleti picked up a metal-shaped tool, weighing just over 300g, and threw it at Holloway.

The tool hit Holloway in the face and he fell to the ground, bleeding heavily.

Orgovan has since seen CCTV footage of the incident and says it has raised more questions for him.

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"Lima says he aimed at Hamu's stomach, but the machine was between him and Hamu. I know he didn't mean to kill Hamu but it doesn't make sense to aim so low, the tool would have bounced off."

Lima Feleti was sentenced to ten months' home detention after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Hamuwera Holloway.
Lima Feleti was sentenced to ten months' home detention after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Hamuwera Holloway.

Orgovan said he could see Feleti saying 'sorry' on the recording when Holloway collapsed.

"Another worker tried to help Hamu while Lima watched. Lima never helped Hamu with first aid or anything. He stood there for a bit and ran away for help."

The family revealed Holloway was going to quit his job the night of his death. He told them he was being "picked on" by a staff member.

"He had had enough. My sisters told me there was a guy at work he didn't like. We didn't know his name but you know boys aren't going to go to their boss and say 'I'm being bullied'.

"Hamu was a very big boy but he wasn't aggressive, he was a 'gentle giant' to be honest. He stayed there because he was trying to save money to move to Melbourne after his 21st this year," Orgovan said.

Hamuwera Holloway was killed by Lima Feleti in a workplace incident. Photo / Supplied
Hamuwera Holloway was killed by Lima Feleti in a workplace incident. Photo / Supplied

Piata Holloway, 36, Hamuwera's sister and his "second mother", misses her brother deeply.

"We were very close, he was more like a son to me than a brother. If I was upset he'd say something to make it better, he was cheeky and bubbly.

"My biggest regret is I didn't stop Hamu from going in to work that day. He was going to resign after that shift. Hamu and his cousin had signed up with an agency to look for another job."

Holloway thought Feleti's sentence was "gut-wrenching". She was furious to find out Feleti was on bail for an assault charge at the time her brother was killed.

"I don't know if it was an accident or on purpose. He took my brother's life and gets home detention, it's a big slap in the face to our family. It's like our brother's life wasn't worth anything. To find out he was on bail for another charge just angers us."

The family is still deciding whether to appeal Feleti's sentence.

Feleti didn't want to comment when approached by the Herald on Sunday.

Orgovan believes Feleti deserves a second chance but says he has to earn it first.

"I believe in second chances but you have to pay for the first one. I don't understand how home detention is going to deter you from doing bad stuff again.

"This tragedy has brought us closer together as a family but it's not going to bring back Hamu. He was a great son, brother and uncle to all our kids - he had the smile of a million stars".