14 Nov 2012

Killer out of prison two years early

10:46 am on 14 November 2012

The killer of a Maori community figure has been released from prison early, despite concerns by the victim's family.

Isaiah Tai, 24, was sentenced to 4½ years in prison for manslaughter, for killing Bay of Plenty Regional Council member Hawea Vercoe, a school principal, outside a bar in Whakatane in 2009.

He has been granted parole after serving 2½ years in prison.

The Parole Board acknowledges Mr Vercoe's family was not satisfied at a restorative justice meeting that Tai has taken responsibility for the crime, but says he has significantly changed his attitude and focus.

Parole conditions include staying out of Whakatane and Rotorua and not contacting Mr Vercoe's family.