A convicted rapist whose offending was described as "worse than a modern-day Once Were Warriors" has been jailed for 16 years.
The comparison with the New Zealand novel and film was made by Detective Neil Kitchen at the conclusion of 53-year-old Patrick Kohu's trial at the High Court in Nelson in December.
Today Justice David Collins sentenced Kohu to 16 years in jail with a non-parole period of eight years.
The jury found Kohu guilty on all 16 charges he faced, including that he regularly raped and assaulted his former partner and performed indecent acts with intent to insult or offend her.
Justice Collins said the case was "the most disturbing [he had] ever heard" in his 35-year career as a prosecutor, defence lawyer and judge.
The court heard in December that he regularly gave his partner violent "hidings". He once beat her around her legs with a hammer, and another time slammed her head into the wall of a house.
Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said Kohu was a "volatile man with a nasty temper", who during nearly 20 years had subjected his partner to "disgusting and inhuman" treatment.
The victim described living in a "pit of hell".
"If someone could do that to me, the world might as well just run me over, " she said during her police interview.
"I tried to get out many times, but he'd just push me, and kick me, and push me back."
The court heard that Kohu and the victim had three children together, all of whom had at times been in the care of Child, Youth and Family. Most of the charges were historical, dating back to when the family was in the North Island.
But Webber said at the trial an incident in Stoke in March last year, during which the victim was beaten, raped and sexually humiliated after a heavy drinking session, was the "final straw" that motivated her to talk to police.
Detective Kitchen thanked the victim for having the strength and courage to come forward.
"This woman has endured almost 20 years of horrendous abuse," he said.
"She reached a point where she realised she had to do something to survive.
"I hope other people in any similar situation will take encouragement from this woman's strength and stand up against their abusers."