Lois Parkes ironed the clothes and cleaned the shoes her "beautiful" rugby-playing grandson Ben Parkes wore when his jaw was broken in an attack in Timaru on Saturday.
Now the Gisborne grandmother is preparing her home for the 22-year-old to return to when he is finally well enough to leave Christchurch Hospital, where he faces numerous operations.
The East Coast Rugby Union player was attacked outside a nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning.
His doting grandmother, who had helped him pack for the trip south, said Mr Parkes faced losing all his teeth as a result of being bashed.
Cousin Jamie Babbington said he had spoken with Mr Parkes in text messages and short conversations.
He said one punch knocked Mr Parkes unconscious and he was believed to have been kicked or punched on the ground. Police are reviewing CCTV footage from outside the nightclub.
Detective Sergeant Dylan Murray said police had spoken with several witnesses who had so far failed to shine any light on who attacked Mr Parkes or why.
"I'm confident that people have seen what happened, but whether they choose to co-operate [with police] we're yet to establish."