Krishan Dick-Karetai, 26, appeared before the Parole Board last week, nearly two and a-half years since the attempted murder in Karitane, which left Hemi Tahuri with a bullet in his head, fighting for his life.
At the hearing, attended by the Otago Daily Times, counsel Andrew Dawson said his client accepted he was not yet ready for release.
"[He] recognises the need to complete one-on-one psychological treatment so his return to the community can be both planned and safe," he said.
When Dick-Karetai moved to Dunedin, he became increasingly consumed by his pursuit of Missy Parata.
Despite her living with Mr Tahuri, he bombarded her with phone calls, breached court orders and on October 15, 2021, turned up at their home with a firearm.
While Ms Parata was on the phone to police, Dick-Karetai shot her partner in the head through the front door.
Doctors gave Mr Tahuri a 1% chance of survival but he pulled through, the bullet remaining lodged in the back of his skull, too precariously placed to be removed.
"It wasn’t a murder but you’ve taken a life from someone," Parole Board member Chris King said.
Ms Parata told the ODT that after months of gruelling rehabilitation, her partner had been back in intensive care twice since the incident — once with seizures and once with meningitis.
"It makes every type of illness 50 times worse," she said.
"Every day we wake up extremely grateful that he’s alive but ... so scared for what the day has ahead for Hemi."
"Just spiralling out of control and just not understanding the situation too well, not accepting certain aspects of it," he said.
"I have a tendency to protect my whānau and I thought that was my whānau. I was under the impression she was with me and not with him. Now I think I misread that as well."
The prisoner was pressed by board member Greg Coyle, who asked Dick-Karetai if he accepted he was obsessed with Ms Parata.
"Not at this moment, no," Dick-Karetai said, though in letters to family he referred to himself as a "scumbag".
The board heard Dick-Karetai was respectful and well-behaved in prison, was studying horticulture and carpentry and encouraging the use of te reo Māori among inmates and staff.
But one-on-one counselling was essential.
"It won’t be easy. You won’t like it. It will challenge you. It will push you. You will have to look at parts of your personality you haven’t looked at before," Mr Coyle said.
The Parole Board heard it might be six months before treatment would begin, and set the inmate’s next hearing for August 2025.
Since the shooting, Ms Parata and Mr Tahuri had moved away from the region but even that had not shielded them from anonymous online abuse, purportedly from Dick-Karetai’s family.
It had been so distressing police had been involved.
But amid all the pain there was a reason for excitement and hope.
The couple are getting married later this year and the venue speaks to their resolve and defiance.
The wedding will take place in Karitane, the place Ms Parata’s ancestors had made home, a place she said could not be ruined by one man’s actions.
She expected it to be "a very healing moment", Ms Parata said.