The man critically wounded by his son has regained consciousness but doesn't know his wife and son are dead.
Keith Bremner, 64, is recovering from multiple injuries in the high dependency unit at Waikato Hospital.
His wife Clare, 60, was fatally stabbed by their son Ross at their home in Otorohanga earlier this month.
Despite a police manhunt, Ross Bremner was found dead four days later alongside elderly couple Mona Tuwhangai, 80, and Maurice O'Donnell, 72, inside their Kawhia Harbour home.
The 34-year-old Bremner was suffering from mental health illnesses and psychiatrists from the Henry Bennett Centre, where he was a patient, are now reviewing their care of him leading up to the four deaths.
Keith Bremner is unaware of the tragic ordeal, according to neighbour and friend Dennis Kaumoana - also a cousin of Mona Tuwhangai - who visited him this week for the first time.
"The good thing is he is out of the coma and he's opened one eye. He's still finding it hard to breathe but he can respond to questions by giving the thumbs up or the thumbs down," said Kaumoana.
"It's a slow process but he is on the road to recovery."
The security guard said the Bremners were a " lovely caring" couple who helped him and his wife settle in when they moved in their home "across the paddock" three years ago.
Clare and Dennis' wife Pauline shared a love of gardening. He said the couple were hard workers and looked out for him after Pauline died of cancer.
"Keith teaches young fellas farming skills at the Maniapoto Marae Pact Trust and Clare was a relief pre-school teacher," he said.
Kaumoana added Clare Bremner confided in his wife, a former psychiatric nurse, about her son's ongoing struggles with schizophrenia.
The last time Dennis saw Ross Bremner he was herding sheep with his father.
"When Ross is in a good frame of mind he is talkative, but when he's not he sticks to himself."
Two weeks before Ross Bremner went on his killing rampage, his mother told Kaumoana she was worried about his state of mind.
"Clare said he was off his meds and became unpredictable," said Kaumoana.
Later that day, Clare Bremner gave Kaumoana the "thumbs up", indicating things were under control.
The next time Kaumoana saw his neighbour, she was dead.
The community security guard in Otorohanga was at work when he heard on the police scanner fire trucks were on their way to Cruden Ave where he lives.
Kaumoana panicked momentarily, thinking his four dogs were trapped inside a burning house.
But as he drove home, Kaumoana saw ambulances, police and the fire brigade outside the Bremner's house.
"It looked serious. When I got there, the boys had got Keith into the ambulance. I went with the police to make sure the house was secure- that's when we found out Clare was hurt," Kaumoana said.
"I was gutted. Seeing Keith was bad enough but knowing Clare's life had been taken was devastating.
Dennis said he had a fair idea who might have been responsible for the attacks.
"Keith and Clare were there but Ross wasn't, so it made bells jingle a bit".
Ross Bremner disappeared and sparked a police manhunt across the Waikato.
He was found dead four days later, alongside the bodies of Mona Tuwhangai and Maurice O'Donnell in their Kinohaku home.
This week police confirmed Ross Bremner's car was
earlier on the same day he attacked his parents.
Detectives have been unable to establish any connection between the two properties or families.
In a cruel twist, Mona Tuwhangai is Kaumoana's cousin whom he was close to.
Last week, Kaumoana and his niece Josephine Kukutai , the daughter of Mona Tuwhangai and Maurice O'Donnell, attended the joint funeral of Clare and Ross Bremner at private service at St Bride's Anglican church.
"I got up and spoke, so did my niece. She said there was no animosity towards Ross and the Bremner family," said Kaumoana.
"She hoped they could get on with their lives and concentrate on Keith's recovery. It was extremely moving."
Earlier this week, Kukutai penned a powerful open letter calling for urgent changes to prevent further tragedies.
Keith Bremner is making good progress, said Kaumoana, but no-one has told him what has happened.
"We want him to get better so he is able to cope with the bad news when he is stronger. If we told him it might tip him over the edge," said Kaumoana.
"But he will never fully recover, will he? He has lost his wife and son."
How four people ended up dead
Tuesday, October 4 8.15pm
Police called to Keith and Clare Bremner's home in Cruden Ave, Otorohanga. The couple had been attacked by their son Ross. Clare Bremner was fatally wounded, Keith Bremner critically injured.
Friday, October 7 7pm
Police called to a property in Kinohaku, near Kawhia. Ross Bremner is found dead alongside Moana Tuwhangai, 80 and Maurice O'Donnell 72.