The Crown has told the High Court in Auckland that a man accused of raping three women, including one who had just given birth in hospital, had episodes of violence and a controlling nature.
The 54-year-old man whose name is suppressed and who is representing himself, denies 26 charges which date back to the mid-1980s.
The charges relate largely to rape, along with assault, threats to kill and kidnapping.
Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said the offending spanned almost three decades involving three women the man had relationships with.
He told the jury of four men and eight women, the controlling nature and degree of threats he made against the women, meant they feared for their lives and didn't feel they could walk away.
Mr McCoubrey said he met one woman when she was 15-years-old in Hastings in 1986.
Early on, he said they had an argument on a drive back from New Plymouth, which ended with the man getting a piece of chain from the back of the car, "smashing her face with it and breaking her teeth."
Mr McCoubrey said in another incident, it is alleged he drove at speed in his car towards her, making her think he intended to hit her.
In 2004, the man, then in his 40s, met the second woman, who was aged 19, and offered her alcohol and drugs.
Mr McCoubrey said she sustained regular beatings over a two-year period, and had described it as being "like a fist fight with a guy."
During the more recent relationship which began in 2007, Mr McCoubrey said the man threatened to throw her and her unborn child out the window and "make it look like an accident."
And much later, he said he raped her in a hospital ward shortly after she had given birth.
Mr McCoubrey said she also claimed to have woken up on a number of occasions, to find him raping her.
More than 30 witnesses will be called over the course of the four-week trial.