A brave Papatoetoe mother came to the rescue when three weapon-wielding men bashed and robbed her elderly neighbour.
The daylight attack has shocked the quiet South Auckland neighbourhood and left the man battered and bruised and his saviour nursing a sore leg.
The woman, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution, told the Herald she was sitting on her balcony, which faces the pensioner's home, when she saw a car pull up outside it about 5pm.
Three men got out, walked through the man's gate and toward his house.
"I knew something was wrong as one of the men had a bandanna over his mouth and I knew my elderly neighbour did not have three male friends," the woman said.
She walked over to investigate, with her young daughter following her on her scooter.
She then took photos of the car in case they were needed as evidence and started to approach her neighbour's gate.
As she got closer, she realised the intruders were assaulting her neighbour.
"I saw some of the males inside the house walking in front of the window and then I heard noises that sounded like someone was getting punched and beaten. I heard talking and muffling noises," she said.
She called 111 and described the men and the car to the operator.
"While I was still on the phone two of the men came out of the house and jumped the gate," she said.
"The first man ran towards me and my daughter. While I turned to run away the man kicked me in the left leg."
A black SUV drove by and the woman believed the passing vehicle may have stopped the man from pursuing her further.
"The man who hit me shouted to the driver... in anger and then ran back to his car," she said.
As she tried to usher her daughter, who was in the middle of the road, across the street the woman said she saw the third man run out of her neighbour's house with a blue t-shirt tied over his face.
"While I was trying to get my daughter away from the road this man started to run after us. We ran towards my house and when I reached my stairs the man ran back to the car and then they drove off."
Throughout the ordeal the woman stayed on the phone with the 111 operator.
Right after the alleged offenders fled the elderly man came out of his house, she said.
"I ran back towards him to see if he was alright."
The pensioner told her the men had kicked him to the floor and stole his bank card.
"He was very concerned about that," she said.
"He was bleeding from his arm and said weapons were used. I checked his body to see if he was hurt elsewhere but I couldn't see anything despite the blood everywhere."
The police arrived a short time later. They told the woman the car the offenders had driven was stolen.
An ambulance took the injured man to Middlemore Hospital in a moderate condition, a St John spokeswoman said.
A hospital spokeswoman told the Herald he was discharged at 9am yesterday.
The man's next-door neighbour said he picked the victim up from the hospital.
He told the Herald the man, understood to be in his 80s, was a "battler" and would be okay.
"It's [just] sad that the world has come to this," the neighbour said of the attack.
The elderly man was recovering at home yesterday.
When the Herald arrived at the scene one of the man's relatives was there to check on him.
Another nearby resident said was surprised to hear such a brutal attack had happened on the quiet, tidy street he had lived on for six years.
Other neighbours also expressed shock at the incident, saying they feared the trio might return.
Police yesterday confirmed the offenders were still on the loose, but were silent about other details of the investigation.
A police spokeswoman said they were unable to comment while inquiries continued.