In the small hours of Sunday morning, bouncer Mathew White stopped a man going into a central Auckland bar because it was closing.
The next thing he knew he was smashed in the head with a road cone by the man, believed to be in his late teens, and is now facing extensive surgery to fix his shattered face.
"This guy was with a girl, and I told him that we were closing up and he tried running past me so I grabbed him. Then he tried to get past me on the other side, and I stopped him and told him we were closed," Mr White said.
"Then next minute, I got this big knock from the side with one of those thick industrial road cones, which I found out afterwards ... and when I got my wits about me I saw this guy running away down the road."
The 30-year-old may never feel his mouth properly again because the nerves have been so badly damaged.
But what Mr White, who was contracted to Carpark bar by a security company, finds frustrating is about 10 people saw the attack outside but no one has come forward as a witness.
"They just don't seem to give a s*** - none of them."
The bouncer went back to work for 10 minutes because no one else could cover the bar's door before he was driven to Middlemore Hospital where he spent the next 11 hours having tests and examinations.
His partner, Pascale Hopkins, said she often lay awake on nights Mr White was working, expecting a phone call to say he'd been injured.
"And then it finally came."
The couple spent yesterday at their Albany home, waiting for Mr White's early morning operation at Middlemore Hospital today.
Doctors told Mr White they would cut his face open in three places, insert plates at the top and bottom of his eye sockets and one up through his mouth into his jaw-line. There's also a 1 per cent chance he could go blind in his left eye because of the nerve damage.
"They say my jaw will never line up the same again and I'll never have the same bite, and there's a chance I might never get the feeling back in my face - and if it does come back it'll take three months." He's facing at least six weeks of recovery and is dependent on ACC payments.
Mr White told the Herald he would "absolutely" return to work as a bouncer - but in the long term he hopes to join get into the police force.
He wanted to let people know attacks on bouncers weren't uncommon. "It's getting more and more dangerous at Auckland bars, people just don't realise. And we can't do anything about it."
Auckland police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty did not respond to the Herald's request for comment yesterday.By Amelia Wade Email Amelia