A man sentenced to 4 and a half years' jail for manslaughter in relation to the death of Rotorua school principal and regional councillor Hawea Vercoe has been released after two years.
A Rotorua justice campaigner has labelled the parole decision "shocking''.
Mr Vercoe died after being assaulted by Isaiah Johnson Richard Tai outside a Whakatane bar in 2009.
Tai, 24, was originally sentenced to two years 10 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to manslaughter _ a term that shocked and infuriated Mr Vercoe's family. On a Solicitor-General's appeal, that term was increased to 4 and a half years.
The Parole Board this month granted Tai parole, saying it was "impressed by his maturity, despite his young age'' and that any perceived risk to the community resulting from his release could be managed.
The board also acknowledged the victim's family weren't satisfied with the restorative justice meeting.
"In answer to a board member's questions, he acknowledges that it was not that Mr Vercoe died, but that he was killed at his hands and that is something that he will need to live with for the rest of his life, an issue he is struggling with and is receiving ongoing counselling for,'' it said.
In its decision, the board said there had been "a significant change in attitude and focus in Mr Tai's life''.
He had become conscious of his Maori culture, motivated by a letter from the victim's uncle.
"Mr Tai has stated that he felt he owed it to Mr Vercoe and his family and all his own support people to live a better life and to become fully committed to remaining crime-free and to focus on his Maoridom,'' said the decision.
Sensible Sentencing Trust Rotorua spokesman Peter Bentley said reducing the prison sentence to only two years was shocking.
"To say that the victim's life is worth only two years' incarceration makes you want to be sick. They have got this absolutely wrong, the Parole Board.''
He said it proved the Parole Board "haven't got a grip on reality''.
"I wonder what the victim's family and his children are thinking when they see their father's life was only worth two years' incarceration.''
He said there was something wrong with the system when a person could king hit a guy and stomp on him until he died, then serve a two-year sentence.
As part of the parole conditions, Tai is to attend counselling programmes, stay at an agreed address, not have contact with the victim's family and not consume drugs or alcohol.