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An eyewitness to an attack on Bay of Plenty school principal and Environment Bay of Plenty councillor Hawea Vercoe, says his head was kicked like a rugby ball.
The 36-year-old Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rotoiti principal died after allegedly being assaulted outside a Whakatane bar last November.
Opotiki 21-year-old Isaiah Johnson Richard Tai has been charged with murder and has appeared for a depositions hearing.
One witness, Sarah Barlow, said she saw Mr Vercoe and Tai arguing outside the bar, the Daily Post reported.
Moments later she watched a man, identified by other witnesses as Tai, run and punch Mr Vercoe in the head, and while he was on the ground unconscious, kick him in the head.
"It was a huge kick, like someone taking a penalty kick in rugby," she said.
Ms Barlow said she put Mr Vercoe in the recovery position, but he was unresponsive.
Another witness to the alleged attack, Jemma Ellis, said she asked Tai why he had attacked Mr Vercoe, and he replied: "He deserved it".
Tai was due to appear in the High Court at Rotorua on April 15 for a trial date to be set. He has entered no plea.
Acknowledgements: - NZPA