A woman who murdered her young foster son will spend at least 17 years in prison.
Patricia Pickering, 38, was found guilty last month of killing three-year-old Dylan Rimoni in April 2008. He was admitted to hospital with serious head injuries and his life support was later switched off.
During Pickering's trial, the court was told that the boy was subjected to regular beatings over a long period. A post-mortem showed he had old head injuries and unusual bruising and scarring.
At the High Court in Auckland on Friday, Justice Wylie sentenced Pickering to a minimum non-parole period of 17 years in prison, saying it was likely she had banged the toddler's head against a hard surface like a door or wall.
Justice Wylie noted that Pickering has expressed no remorse for the killing and continues to deny ever harming or assaulting the child.
Close family 'torn apart'
Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Lynch says Pickering's continuing denial is hard for the boy's family. He says the family feels a lot of regret at trusting Dylan to her.
Mr Lynch says Dylan had a tragic life and an even more tragic death.
Parts of victim impact statements from the boy's uncle, grandmother and mother were read in court.
His mother's says the death has torn apart what used to be a close family.