Writer jailed for assaulting, threatening woman

A budding Dunedin novelist will have a few weeks of solitude to work on his latest book.

But the creative process will take place behind bars after Eru Rakete Karetai was jailed for assaulting his partner and threatening to ``smash her head in''.

The 24-year-old appeared before the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he added to a growing list of violent convictions.

Karetai featured in the ODT in 2015, while he was on home detention, previewing his appearance at a young writers' festival.

``I turned around and said `I'm living a life of crime. I might as well change it, and do something better','' he said at the time.

``Because I know I can. I know I can do better.''

Yesterday, his lawyer, Rhona Daysh, said her client had self-published a novella called The Link is Broken and was working on his first full-length novel: Behind Closed Doors.

The book was about domestic abuse, she said.

On December 12, Karetai and his 29-year-old partner were arguing at their Dunedin home.

The woman left, upset, but despite her yelling: ``Leave me alone'', Karetai chased after her, grabbed her by the shoulders and marched her 50m back to their house.

``While the defendant was marching the victim along the street, he said to her that `I will assault you' and that he would smash her head in,'' the summary said.

Karetai told police he was worried the victim would harm herself and Ms Daysh said he was in ``protective mode''.

``His behaviour is quite controlling and bullying and over-zealous,'' she said.

``He's not in control of his emotions ... it's something he needs to work on.''

But she was enthusiastic about Karetai's prospects in creative writing.

She told the court her client had a mentor who had gone on record saying the 24-year-old had ``considerable ability''.

``He regrets [the incident] and wants to break that downward spiral,'' she said. ``He doesn't want to be known as the man that goes to prison, but Eru the author.''

Judge Michael Turner imprisoned Karetai for five months but said because of his time behind bars on remand, he would be released in a matter of weeks.

He also imposed post-release conditions requiring the defendant to complete a domestic-violence course.

A protection order was granted in favour of the victim.

 - Rob Kidd



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