A man in a critical condition in Hawke's Bay Hospital was the victim of a "vicious, seemingly unprovoked assault" by two men in the heart of Havelock North in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Detective Sergeant Craig Vining said the assault, described as "vicious," happened at 4am yesterday and left the 32-year-old man with facial injuries. A hospital spokesman said this morning that the man was in a critical condition.
Mr Vining said in a statement that at about 3:50am on the 3rd August 2014, the 32 year old victim was outside the clock tower, public toilets on Te Aute Road, central Havelock North.
He was set upon by two males. The men then ran from the area, in the direction of Porter Drive.
"The victim was left semi conscious and bleeding as a result of the beating. He is still in Hawkes Bay hospital in a serious condition."
Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen the incident or were in the general area at the time.
As part of inquiries, police are also seeking to identify the two males pictured in the above photo (wearing the denim vest and the pink singlet) and would urge both men to make contact with Hastings Police on 831 0700 or present at their nearest police station.
A crime scene was cordoned and under guard by police on Porter Drive, beside the CBD public toilets near the Havelock North Information Centre, yesterday morning.
It was taken down in the afternoon. Mr Vining said police were "following good lines of inquiry" in relation to the case.
Havelock North Community Patrol chairman Robin Deacon said the village was "generally pretty quiet" at night.
The community patrol operates up to 4am, though it was not aware of the assault.
"I'm quite surprised that something like this has happened.
"The crime activity around the village is a lot less than when I joined the patrol several years ago. In the last six to nine months it's been pretty uneventful."
Mr Deacon said much of the night activity in the village revolved around Turks Sports Bar, Loading Ramp and Diva Bistro and Bar, which closed between 1am and 3am.
"Of course everybody disperses from there and the ones that are left walk down to McDonald's. There's been the odd skirmish in the village, particularly on closing time, but nothing to the extent [of the assault]."
Havelock North Business Association president Sam Jackman said he believed the assault was "an isolated incident".
"I think the village generally is a very safe place. We get antisocial behaviour every now and then, but we're a tight community."
Patrons at Havelock North's hotels and restaurants were generally well-behaved, Mr Jackman said, and retailers operated responsibly.
"It's unsavoury elements coming into the village, which is unfortunate.
"Police resources are stretched at that time of day and it's unfortunate this happens in a small community like Havelock North."