A man is fighting for his life after being found unconscious on a cycleway in Haumoana yesterday morning.
Police found the man about 7am and he was rushed to Hawke's Bay Hospital where he remained in a critical condition in intensive care last night.
Police carried out a scene examination yesterday in the vicinity of Domain Rd and the section of the cycleway just after Blackbridge to Haumoana Beach was closed off.
One nearby resident was enjoying her morning coffee on the deck about 6.30am when she heard chatter and a radio from the fire engine.
"I looked outside and there was an ambulance, a fire truck and a police car. I had no idea what was going on and thought I had missed something."
A group of fruit pickers had gone down to the beach with a dinghy last night and she said her heart dropped as she thought they could have had an accident.
But moments later a swarm of police arrived outside her home and a middle-aged man was carried on a stretcher and put into the back of the ambulance.
"He didn't look too good."
She was shocked by what she said was the first serious assault in the area as she didn't expect events like this to occur.
"We have had a few cars go in to the drain and a bit of drama but nothing like this. It is pretty sad really. I just hope the man is alright."
The van the fruit pickers were in was still there yesterday morning.
A spokesman for the fruit pickers said they were not involved in the incident.
"The group had gone down for a night fish and were not a part of the team that found the man."
"They were told that morning that three Maori men were involved in some sort of dispute," the spokesman said.
Police are asking if anyone saw the man assaulted in the Domain Rd and Grange Rd North area of Haumoana to contact Hastings Police Station immediately on 06 873 0500.
He was described by police as being in his mid-40's, with long scraggly brown hair.
He was wearing a long sleeved red top and dark blue shorts.
Alternatively, details can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.