Hot Water Beach is a sleepy little town in winter.
Tourists flow into the seaside village like the tide; packing out the beach at low tide, before emptying when it comes back in.
Despite the brisk winter breeze, it's still not enough to put visitors - armed with mini spades - off digging the famous hot water pools.
Half the houses appear to be holiday homes, mostly Aucklanders, while the rest are locals who either work locally, in tourism or in nearby Whitianga.
But a more sinister undercurrent reared its head last weekend after 73-year-old Robert Noe was bashed and beaten around the head with a heavy instrument just after midnight on Saturday.
Noe says he was alerted to the group of four, or five, people after seeing flashlights in his home.
"Something awakened me. I don't know what it was but I looked to my left and saw multiple flashlights inside my home. So I yelled 'who are you?' or something to the effect of, 'what are you doing here?' and I raised my left arm. Just at the same time, it got hit," he says.
"Things slowed down in some sense but they are speeding up in the other.
"I thought that was it. When you are getting beaten that bad, that quick with multiple parties and flashlights and everything, I thought that was it."
The sight would have been a surprise as his house is not in the two-street village; it's about 3km from the beach itself, half of that distance is along a narrow, winding, cow-poo covered, grassy access road.
There's no street lights and to get to Noe's home - built "off the grid" - you have to go through four closed gates and two electric fences.
His attackers were so intent on getting to him, it appears they used a vehicle to rip a steel pole - embedded in cement, a steel chain and lock - out of the ground.
""I think they're out to kill me. I'm dealing with the dark side of this community," he says.
Robert Noe is an affable man; polite, charming.
He's thankful for the media coverage of his attack and now hopes the police will be able to find those responsible.
His bloodied face has been cleaned up and his arm is in a sling when he meets the Herald at the gate of his home earlier this week.
His left eye is still bruised, bloodshot and swollen. His left arm is in a cast after being fractured in three places. A piece of bone remains floating around inside.
He's got a bandage on his shin and he's got small, bloodied wounds healing above his toes on his right foot.
He's just returning home from four days at Waikato Hospital but is still happy to chat and show the Weekend Herald around his expansive home.
It sits proudly atop the coastal cliff that wraps around the Coromandel's eastern coast. To the left he has views of the Mercury Bay Islands, out in front is Castle Island, while the scattered Alderman Islands are in the distance to the right.
Noe isn't sure what to expect inside his home as we arrive. He's wearing his trademark shorts - never wears pants - and a hoody and is hanging out to do his washing.
Inside, everything is in tack. It's a split-level home; the first houses vehicles, before steps take you up into the open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area. It's so big it takes up two-thirds of the space. The rest is his bedroom en suite and open wardrobe and office.
Sliding doors and large windows are in each room to offer that expansive view.
He walks around, curious to see what, if anything, his attackers may have left behind. Pulling up outside, all that he noticed was cow poo; someone left the gates open for a short period of time.
Inside, however, Noe is quick to spot chunks of dirt, dried in the shape of a sole of a shoe. He's adamant it belongs to those who beat him up and again speaks of how he hopes the police saw it and can use it in their investigation.
"I'm not so worried about who beat me up, it's whose behind it. Nobody should be subject to that kind of activity in this country. Period."
Photos of family are proudly on show, including his daughter, Morgan. She would be unimpressed to learn he has returned home. She's afraid the group will return to finish the job, he says.
When asked about rumours on a "disparaging" website which claims he owes up to $5 million to people in New Zealand and the United States, Noe is quick to say its lies and that "I don't owe anyone money".
"It's horribly demeaning. I don't owe a dime. I'm a normal guy and it's hard when you have someone doing all this stuff. Printing all this garbage and trying to demean you."
Asked about two cases involving two local businesses currently before the Disputes Tribunal, Noe says he stands by both; one sees him being asked for money, and the other him asking for money back.
However, he claims his attack is linked to the website and court proceedings involving a former business associate which he fruitlessly fought all the way to the Supreme Court.
Now, the court has issued a charging order and seized his 153ha property, readying it for sale to pay his debt.
However, he's fighting that, too. Instead of selling his dream property, he wants to sell off a portion - enough to pay his former associate.
In the meantime, he says he will fight as hard as he can to keep what he can of his dream home, so he can continue his retirement there.
"They want me out of here. They want me to end up losing this property," Noe says.
"You shouldn't get away with it. They want me eliminated in one fashion or another. That may mean I'm under 6 ft of dirt or they chase me out of here.
"This is not typical of New Zealand. Nobody should have to go through this."
Everyone knows everyone in Hot Water Beach.
Word had quickly spread about Noe's attack.
When asked their thoughts about what happened and whether they were concerned, most said they weren't surprised to hear it was Noe who had been bashed.
The return question "why?" gets a small variance of answers from the printable to the unprintable, but it can be summed up by saying he has pushed people too far with claims he's "ripped off" the wrong people.
None of the residents want to be identified, they're worried about any implications given Noe is a former lawyer from the United States - where everyone sues everyone.
One woman says she was saddened by the attack, she'd never had any problems with Noe and he's always polite.
Another said although she didn't live there full time she was concerned about what happened and just wanted those responsible caught.
But some spoken to felt he had "rubbed people up the wrong way", "ripped off the wrong person" or simply pushed people too far and that others in the community don't have anything to worry about it in regards to their own safety.
Some noted how, apart from bustling tourist activity, nothing ever happens in Hot Water Beach. Apart from the odd roaming patrol car in the peak of summer, cops aren't seen in the area. And they're aware if they are, they've got at least a 45-minute wait for help.
One person suggested, given the residents' claims of Noe's alleged behaviour over the years, the case may even go unsolved.
It's a startling range of responses from a group of everyday Kiwis to an incident which left a man thinking his days were done.
When contacted, police said they were still investigating the incident and "are looking into a number of avenues and considering all possibilities".
They now want to hear from anyone who saw any four-wheel-drive vehicles acting suspiciously in the Hot Water Beach area between 10pm on Saturday, June 15 and 2am on Sunday.