International student Hao Wang was convicted of careless driving causing injury. He appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Monday August 10.
Judge Sally O'Brien said Wang's actions had "potential for very significant harm" and he "failed to exercise the intent to care", resulting in the injury of another person.
The crash involved two other vehicles, one of which carried five people including three young children.
Wang's passenger suffered a fractured right collarbone. Others involved in the crash all escaped serious injury.
Judge O'Brien stated the "offending was not deliberate" and felt Wang's remorse was "genuine".
She said the offence was at the "lower end" of the scale but did not grant Wang a discharge without conviction.
Wang sobbed in the court room, worried that this conviction would affect his student visa extension and future workplace employment in New Zealand.
Judge O'Brien said Wang's "maturity and experience" combined with the "distance of time" meant the conviction may not affect his future employment.
Wang disqualified from driving for six months beginning April 16, and ordered to pay $830 in total for reparations, emotional harm and court costs.
Wang's conviction means he will not be eligible for a student visa extension and he will now need to apply for a visa waiver from New Zealand Immigration.