Nikau Andrews was restrained by four police officers just after midnight on Sunday after he was caught tagging in Auckland.
Andrews (26) required emergency hospital treatment and suffered serious injuries.
Bystanders took exception to the way he was handled.
Asked for comment, NZ Police said in a statement that Andrews had been resisting arrest, it took several officers to restrain him and the issue was handled appropriately and professionally.
He was charged with intentional damage and remanded for a district court hearing.