While his wife was at church, Mataafa Ae plotted to kill her.
He laid out two lengths of rope and three knives in the hallway and awaited her return.
The pair argued and when the 66-year-old picked up a knife his wife of 10 years ran out of the house, down the street and into a property in a bid to escape Ae.
But he pursued her inside and in front of the strangers in the house in Manurewa, forced her to the ground, knelt over her and began stabbing her in the head.
She was stabbed in the face, scalp and her arms and hands as she sought to protect herself. She almost lost a finger.
He left the house with the knife. He told police he was "100 percent committed to kill".
Ae, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder and breaching a protection order, was jailed for six-and-a half years in the High Court at Auckland on Friday.
Justice Simon Moore said Ae had told a probation officer the rope and knives were laid out to scare her. He had also described the weapon he used as "just a butter knife".
"A glance at the photographs of the injuries puts the lie to that claim," said Justice Moore.
"This was not a spur of the moment attack. It is not a case where you suddenly lost control or lashed out in response to provocation. Indeed, the very opposite is the case."