Drunk driver jailed over Ocean Heke hit and run death

The man responsible for running down and killing a teenage girl in Otorohanga has been sentenced to four years behind bars.

Broc Kawhena previously pleaded guilty to driving causing death, after his vehicle ploughed into 17-year-old Ocean Heke in April last year. He had initially faced a charge of manslaughter, but this was withdrawn by the Crown.

The teen was walking home from a party in the early hours of the morning when she was hit, and her body was found several hours later.

The court heard Kawhena had consumed between 18 and 20 beers at another party the night before he decided to drive home.

The roads were wet from rain, and it was dark and misty at the time.

As Kawhena drove away from a property with his partner, in an unregistered and unwarranted vehicle, he pulled onto McKenzie Ave and crossed the centre line before colliding with a parked car.

"You should have known already that you weren't okay to drive. That first collision should have been a warning but you continued," Justice Christine Gordon said while delivering the sentence.

But the court heard Kawhena continued driving up to 40 kilometres above the speed limit, and while arguing with his partner took his eyes off the road.

His vehicle mounted the curb, and travelled over a grass verge where Ocean Heke was hit.

Ms Heke was shunted into the air, hit the lower front windscreen of the vehicle and smashed the car's side mirror.

She was then thrown about 10 metres away from the vehicle, into a brick pillar and wooden picket fence.

"She suffered catastrophic injuries, she died alone and wasn't found for several hours."

Kawhena's car swerved back onto the road and eventually crashed into a steel fence. He tried to continue driving but the car wouldn't move.

Kawhena and his partner then left the scene and went to a nearby relative's house.

"It's been difficult for [Ms Heke's family] to know she died on her own and in pain. They have experienced sorrow and anger," Justice Gordon said.

She told the court Kawhena's sentence needed to deter both him and others from committing a similar offence in the future.

Ocean Heke's mother Bella Tupu gave an emotional victim impact statement at Thursday morning's sentencing.

Through tears she told the court she struggles to sleep and has been left heartbroken by the incident.

She described her daughter as a caring person with lots of ambition.

"It's hard for me to reflect on what happened; it's hard for me to put my thoughts into words. It feels like a part of me is missing."

She says every day Ms Heke isn't with her hurts.

"I miss my baby so much. I see her dad and siblings missing her, and crying for her, and it breaks my heart because I cannot fix it."

She says Ms Heke wanted to be a personal trainer and eventually join the army.

There was standing room only in the public gallery as both supporters of Kawhena and Ms Heke's family attended the sentence.

Kawhena had his head bowed and cried during the victim impact statement.

He was emotionless as the sentence was handed down, and his supporters shouted out "love you" as he was taken from the dock.