A Hamilton man charged over the death of a 48-year-old now faces a manslaughter charge.

Chadwick Alexander Tanemahuta Ropitini, 26, initially faced an assault charge, to which he had pleaded not guilty, after an incident at a Forest Lake, Hamilton, house on Boxing Day.

Ropitini and the victim, Jayden Heke, knew each other.

Heke died at the scene.

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Ropitini is due to appear in Hamilton District Court this afternoon to face an upgraded charge of causing the death of Heke by an unlawful act, namely assault, and thereby committing manslaughter.

The case will now get referred to the High Court at Hamilton, where Ropitini will appear at a later date.