Northland man jailed for murder, younger brother sentenced for injuring with intent after Whangārei brawl

Whangārei police at the scene where Haze Angelo Peihopa was murdered during a violent clash on Bank St at midnight on June 12, 2021

In a first for Northland, a young man convicted of murder has not been given a sentence of life imprisonment.

Instead the 22-year-old, who cannot be named at this stage, received 18 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of seven years‘ and six months after being found guilty of the murder of Whangārei man Haze Angelo Peihopa.

Peihopa died after a violent clash broke out on Bank St during a night out on June 12, 2021.

The man, who was 20 at the time of the murder, was sentenced in the High Court at Whangārei on Friday.


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He was also sentenced on a charge of assault with intent to injure using a knife after he repeatedly swung it at another man during the street fight where Peihopa was killed.

The man’s 19-year-old brother also appeared in the court on Friday for sentencing. He had pleaded guilty to a charge of injuring Peihopa with intent to injure.

The then 17-year-old had kicked Peihopa in the head while he was on the floor after being stabbed by his brother.

Emotional outbursts erupted from some members of Peihopa’s whānau and friends in court as Justice Timothy Brewer announced he would not be imposing a life sentence, which has a minimum non-parole period of 10 years, and can also be uplifted due to the circumstances of the case.


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The Sentencing Act provision says an offender who is convicted of murder must be sentenced to imprisonment for life unless, given the circumstances of the offence and the offender, a sentence of imprisonment for life would be manifestly unjust.

Justice Brewer said the mandatory life sentence law for young people convicted of murder – those under 25 – had been changed by the Court of Appeal.

That decision – the King v Dickey – ruled that a young person convicted of murder was not automatically sentenced to life and the sentencing judge had to look at factors including their background, upbringing and deprivation, and take into account the fact a young person’s brain had not developed fully and they could be more prone to impulsive actions.

All three of those convicted of murder in that case – Christopher James Brown, Georgia Rose Dickey and Katrina Roma Epiha – had been convicted of murders they committed when they were teenagers.

A Court of Appeal judgement on their cases released in January reviewed the courts’ approach to sentencing young people for murder, including their “neurological immaturity” due to their age. Beyond their youth, each of the young killers had a range of personal circumstances, including histories of “significant social deprivation” and psychological conditions. These also made them less culpable for the murders they committed, the court said.

Justice Brewer said some of these factors in King v Dickey applied in this case and he stepped back from sentencing the man to a life term.

To which some of Peihopa’s supporters took exception and yelled abuse and threats before being removed from the court. Other family members remained, wearing pictures of Peihopa on their hoodies.

Several read emotional victim impact statements that described a beloved son, brother, uncle and cousin who was intelligent and would do anything to help people.

His death would impact them forever and the judge acknowledged that no sentence from the court would ever be satisfactory for them.

Justice Brewer said on June 12, the brothers went into central Whangārei around 11pm and were seen on CCTV drinking alcohol and inhaling nitrous oxide in a carpark before going to Bank St.


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At around 11.30pm the group the brothers were with got into a confrontation with Peihopa and some of his friends.

The older brother and Peihopa faced off during the initial clash where Peihopa ended up swinging the older brother away.

The man then went to a friend and asked him to ‘give me the blade, give me the blade, I’m going to shank the m**********’, Justice Brewer said.

”You acquired a very large and lethal-looking knife from your associate…you held it behind your back and walked towards Mr Peihopa.“

Justice Brewer said the man took several swinging blows at Peihopa – none of which connected.

Peihopa fought back and the man stabbed him once in the chest. The blade penetrated his lung and severed his pulmonary artery.


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The man then turned away and started swinging the knife at Peihopa’s friend.

Peihopa fell to the ground and the younger brother, who had gone to his brother’s aid, kicked Peihopa in the head. Although Justice Brewer acknowledged that he did not know Peihopa had been stabbed.

Peihopa died in hospital in the early hours of June 13, 2021.

The judge convicted and discharged the younger brother, saying a discharge without conviction, as asked for by his lawyer, would not adequately reflect his actions.

Justice Brewer said in regard to the older brother, the King v Dickey judgement meant he had to take other factors into account and it was clear those were relevant in this case.

He said the brothers’ early days were good but their father and mother ended up addicted to methamphetamine and their father had joined the Head Hunters gang.


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The judge said their lives were filled with drugs, violence and gang life, and the older brother suffered abuse. He ended up being the father figure in the house and experienced things no young person should have to.

Justice Brewer said the man’s behaviour in prison would determine how much of the 18-year sentence he served beyond the minimum non-parole period.

It would be up to the Parole Board to determine if he was ready to be released after seven and a half years.

The man is prevented from being named as his younger brother has had interim name suppression.

An application by his lawyer for that to become permanent name suppression was turned down by Justice Brewer on Thursday.

However, the judge was bound to let the interim suppression order stand for five working days to give the defence the chance to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal.


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