A Hamilton business owner is in an induced coma after being attacked on Friday evening when he tried to break up a drunken argument.

Police say the 55-year-old man is in a very serious condition in Waikato Hospital and has had to undergo surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Greene of the Waikato CIB said the business owner appeared to have been an innocent victim of an alcohol related dispute which turned ugly.

"Our enquiries have identified that staff from two separate companies had been drinking at different bars in Hamilton before people from both groups went on to the Still Working Bar in Chartwell's Lynden Court.


"During the course of events an arm wrestling competition has been organised in the outside area of the bar about 9pm and when the result has not gone the way some of those present predicted, words have been exchanged."

The victim was attempting to de-escalate the situation when he was hit in the back of the head with a heavy glass beer jug, knocking him to the ground unconscious.

"He is currently in an induced coma and is in a very serious condition.

"CCTV footage of the assault helped us identify a person of interest and today, a 23-year-old man will appear in the Hamilton District Court charged with wounding with reckless disregard."

Mr Greene said investigators had spent the weekend conducting a scene examination and interviewing witnesses.

Police are appealing to any witnesses to the attack to come forward with information.

"While unable to speak to specifics about this case as it is before the courts, Friday's incident highlights the need for those holding work functions to ensure there are non-alcoholic alternatives available and the importance of ensuring steps are in place to get everybody home safely."