A man allegedly attacked his neighbours' vehicle with an axe on Wednesday afternoon, leaving the Flaxmere family terrified.
A Flaxmere father approached Hawke's Bay Today to air his frustration with the attack, which he said had followed years of escalating abuse from his neighbours.
"We moved here three years ago and I've had these neighbours threatening to cut my throat several times.
"This was a problem house when we first moved in here but nothing will change because nobody wants to stand up and say something."
The man said three men, whom he believed had gang affiliations, ran at him with axes while he was reversing a car out of his driveway just after 3pm on Wednesday.
"In the time I hopped out of the car, one of them had put an axe through the windscreen and then I had another come up, grab the keys out of my car and throw them into the middle of the road."
He said he was then told to "man up and fight" the trio, which he refused.
"You call yourself men? You're coming at me to fight when you've got weapons. What's fighting going to do?"
A neighbour who watched the altercation said it was "horrible" it had happened when school children were coming home.
"There were children around witnessing the whole thing. There's no need for that extreme behaviour. They should be able to be civilised and talk."
In a letter addressed to Work and Income New Zealand on September 1 this year, police wrote they were "fearful" the man and his partner would become potential targets. It acknowledged police had worked closely with the couple since being called about ongoing issues of harassment from their neighbours, but talks with those concerned had broken down and a peaceful resolution had fallen through.
"However, additional issues have arisen again within the street in the last two months and the situation hasn't been able to be resolved amicably or where an identifiable person can be held accountable."
The Flaxmere father said he was scared for his family and moving wasn't an option as they had dogs for security and pet-friendly rentals were hard to come by.
"My ideal outcome would be to find another house for my family but that moves all my kids' schooling. They're in schools that have helped them out of the ruts they've been in because of this sort of stuff."
Police have charged a 52-year-old male with possession of an offensive weapon and wilful damage, and confirmed some of those involved were part of an "ongoing neighbourly dispute".
A spokesperson said inquiries were continuing and police did not believe there was any risk to the wider public.