A pensioner thought he was going to die during a vicious home invasion which left him suffering multiple fractures to his arm and head.
Robert Noe, 73, is in Waikato Hospital awaiting surgery to have a plate inserted in his arm after up to four people, including one woman, allegedly stormed his property just after midnight on Saturday, and beat him to a pulp.
His family believe the attack was part of what they describe as a sustained campaign of terror spanning more than a year following a soured business deal and a legal battle that he ultimately lost.
US-born Noe has owned his $3.6m, 153ha Whenuakite property for 30 years before building a house "off the grid" and moving there permanently two years ago.
During the last 12 months, Noe claims to have been burgled, followed by a vehicle late at night up to the gate of his property and assaulted in a cafe.
A website has also been set up claiming he owes people $5 million in both New Zealand and the United States, a claim he says is "simply outrageous".
But despite the apparent harassment campaign, Noe said his life had been largely drama-free for several months until Sunday morning's attack which the police confirmed is now under investigation.
It's also left his Los Angeles-based daughter, Morgan, anxious and angry as she awaits news of her father's impending surgery.
Noe said he was in bed when he heard his dog barking just after midnight.
After letting his dog outside and returning to bed, he noticed torches moving around his home.
"I yelled out to them.
"They kind of retreated.
"They shined the torch at me and I was partially blinded and one of their group came out of the dark from my left side who had some form of weapon.
"I threw my left arm up and blocked this instrument [but] he was repeatedly beating me."
Noe fell to the ground then the group of up to four began kicking him about the body, he said. "That's when I thought that I'm over with."
After the group left he found enough strength to pick himself up, cradling his severely fractured arm and head, and called emergency services.
He said his property wasn't easy to get to; the attackers ripped out a steel pole at the beginning of his 2km long driveway before going through three other gates and two electric fences.
Hospital staff said he'd suffered at least three arm fractures and a fractured eye socket. His whole body is sore and bruised due to being kicked on the ground.
Noe believed the attack was linked to previous incidents.
The website author claims Noe owes him US$250,000 ($384,000) and up to $5 million in total to others.
The website also warned people would "turn the ship around and run you the f*** over".
The post continues: "Bringing him down while I enjoy a chardonnay with the lads on our spaceship."
Noe's lawyer, John Cox, said the website claims were defamatory. But they had so far been unsuccessful in tracking the author other than discovering the site's source was a link to Panama.
He believed the website aimed to prevent Noe from selling part of his Hot Water Beach property in order to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars a judge told Noe to pay to a former business associate.
"It certainly looks to be defamatory. And in terms of defamation, it seems to be a fair degree of malice in terms of the intent, at least in part, being to prevent or hinder the sale... because if that doesn't happen he will lose the whole thing.
"So it seems to be very malicious, very targeted, with a goal to see him both financially wrecked and basically homeless."
Noe's frightened daughter, Morgan, who has spent half her life in New Zealand, said she knew something was wrong when she'd tried to contact him for Father's Day — on June 16 in the US. She called her father every day and he'd always answered.
"It's just shocking. I consider New Zealand to be a home."
She also disputed the website's claims and likened it to bullying.
"Whatever sadistic pleasure someone might get from that it's not okay and it affects more than just him and it's terrible ... and it's criminal."
A local man linked to the drawn-out legal battle told the Herald he had nothing to do with the attack or the website.
He learned of the assault after arriving at the property to check on grazing cattle and finding the steel pole ripped from the ground.
He then made calls to other property owners who confirmed Noe had been attacked.
The man, who the Herald has chosen not to name, claimed Noe "hasn't got a good name for himself".
"He's rattled a few people, rubbed them up the wrong way."
Awaiting surgery yesterday in Waikato Hospital, Noe said he was surprised to escape the attack with his life.
"I actually didn't think I was going to make it. I thought, 'I'm going to get killed here'."
In a statement, police confirmed they were investigating the attack.
"The victim woke to find unknown persons at his address. The victim was assaulted and has injuries to his arm and face."
Police confirmed that a burglary of a firearm had been reported in February 2018, but there were no lines of inquiry so the file was closed.