Leslie Gelberger death: Ports of Auckland sentenced after collision with ocean swimmer

Ports of Auckland has been sentenced to pay $424,000 after a pilot boat fatally collided with ocean swimmer Leslie Gelberger in 2017.

It comes after the company was found guilty of failing to ensure, so far as reasonably practical, the health and safety of people at work or other persons.

It was one of two charges brought by Maritime NZ, who also charged a worker at the Ports of Auckland for failing to take reasonable care by navigating a boat in excessive speed.

This included navigating without any reasonable excuse a speed exceeding 5 knots within 200 metres of the shore, and navigating at a speed exceeding 12 knots within Waitemata restricted zone.

The worker was fined $8400.

Ports of Auckland had already paid $220,000 to Gelberger's family as an ex gratia payment.

Gelberger was a maths and science teacher at Westlake Girls High School on Auckland's North Shore.

He died on April 20, 2017 after being struck by a pilot boat while swimming off Cheltenham Beach in Devonport. His body, which was missing a leg, was discovered the following day by a ferry in Mairangi Bay.

Gelberger was the only source of income for his family at the time of his death. He and wife Laura McLeod had moved from Canada three years prior with their two young sons.

In an emotional victim impact statement on Friday, McLeod said the boys had asked her if they could "use a magic wand and bring him back". They also asked Santa Claus to bring him back the Christmas after his passing.

McLeod said their dad's death caused her sons to "[lose] their belief in magic far too soon".

Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said he's "deeply sorry" that its boat was involved in the involved in the tragedy.

"I would like to offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr Gelberger's wife, children, parents, sister and wider family. As a family man I understand how much pain his loss has caused, and I profoundly regret what has happened."