Bashed Martinborough firefighter Peter Fisher literally took his first steps on the road to recovery yesterday with a tentative walk inside his Wellington Hospital ward.
Mr Fisher, victim of a vicious assault nearly two weeks ago, has astounded medical staff with his bounce back, according to his family.
Brother Paul Fisher said Peter had taken a few steps, helped by his physiotherapist, and was now talking "okay."
He said his brother's recovery was "nothing short of spectacular" although there is still a long way to go before he is fully recovered.
"The doctors and nurses are really impressed with just how strong he is."
Paul Fisher said his brother worked as a storeman in Wellington and his workmates told of him being able to carry heavy carpet on his own, up eight flights of stairs.
"He is the hardest working person I know."
Peter Fisher's rate of progress has been such that he is due to be transferred to a rehab unit on Monday.
His brother said Peter was eating pureed food and was starting to get his appetite back.
"He is still sleeping for massive hours but that is part of the healing process."
The family and Peter Fisher's partner Freida have been almost constantly at his bedside.
Paul Fisher said his brother had given up smoking six months ago "after trying to for years" and the family have credited that with helping his recovery.