A man has been sentenced to eight years' jail for putting a shotgun to the heads of strangers and ramming a couple's car as they fled his rage.

Described by a judge as "bizarre", the rampage started pre-dawn in Flaxmere on March 30 last year and led to the-now 29-year-old Jim Kaitamaki being charged with assault using a shotgun as a weapon, attempted aggravated robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, threatening to kill, car conversion, reckless driving and two counts of assault using a motor vehicle as a weapon.

In Napier District Court on Friday, Judge Tony Adeane said Kaitamaki denied the offences "to the bitter end", drawing the process out to 17 months which included rejecting another judge's sentencing indication.

Kaitamaki was found guilty at a judge-alone trial, but Judge Adeane said: "At the end of it all it was unanswerable, and unanswered".

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He said Kaitamaki appeared to show no remorse for what he had put his victims through, and was himself "thoroughly institutionalised."

About 4am on the morning of Good Friday, 2018 Kaitamaki had followed a vehicle driven by a 63-year-old man in Flaxmere Ave, and then cut in front of it and forced it to a stop.

Accusing the occupants of being involved in a stabbing incident, Kaitamaki grabbed his shotgun, threatened to shoot a younger male and pointed the shotgun at his head.

Kaitamaki then drove-off, but 30 minutes later, with his partner in the vehicle, approached another man, asked for cigarettes, demanded cash and pointed the weapon at the man's head and demanded cigarettes. When the man resisted, Kaitamaki struck the man using the gun as a weapon, and drove off in the man's vehicle.

He then got into an argument with his frightened partner who then fled in her car and crashed. A couple, about to leave on holiday with an infant in their vehicle offered help, but had to retreat because the behaviour of Kaitamaki who twice rammed their vehicle in a chase that followed.

Judge Adeane said the "bizarre behaviour" was part of the "all-too-familiar" type of events linked to use of methamphetamine.

Kaitamaki's previous offending included being part of the Spring Hill Corrections Centre riot in Waikato in 2013, being on of 23 inmates who were charged.

He had been sentenced to more than two years' jail for assaulting a prison officer and causing some of the $4 million worth of damage which resulted from the six-hour riot.

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