The man accused of a road rage assault on grandfather Jasmatbhai Pancha Patel will stay behind bars for at least another two weeks.

The 78-year-old died in Auckland Hospital yesterday afternoon, a day after being beaten following a vehicle collision on Carrington Rd, Mt Albert.

The attack was seen by dozens of horrified school children.

Unitec student Bio O'Brien, 27, reappeared in the Auckland District Court today charged with assaulting Mr Patel.

In his brief appearance, O'Brien was remanded in custody until April 27 after his lawyer David Niven did not seek bail.

Police said following Mr Patel's death, they were now conducting a homicide inquiry but no further charges were laid today.

Judge David Harvey today decided to allow images of O'Brien to be taken in court and published after it was denied yesterday.

The Patel family last night paid tribute to the father and grandfather who treasured his family above all else and subscribed to the peaceful principles of Mahatma Gandhi.

The family - who live on neighbouring properties in Spinnaker Dr, Te Atatu - mourned the loss of a loved father.

"He was the head of the family, totally Indian style ... looking after the sons and then the grandchildren," his 53-year-old son, George Patel, told the Herald.

The Patels - who believe their Hindu faith will get them through - said they had their beloved father and grandfather to thank for their blessed New Zealand life.

"If he hadn't been here with us before we wouldn't have been living together for the last 30 years," George Patel said.

A fabric-cutter in India, Jasmatbhai Patel followed his sons to New Zealand in the 1970s, working till the age of 71.

Family members praised his selflessness, saying he was on his way to help at the family fruit market in Mangere when he was attacked.

"If ever you were in trouble he would be the first person you would call. He doesn't have to help, but he always comes," George Patel said.

Police say O'Brien leapt from his BMW car and attacked Mr Patel - first in his van and then outside - after a "very, very minor" collision about 8am on Tuesday.

Investigators were yesterday speaking with several people who saw the attack.

A woman, who said she saw it from a nearby bus stop, gave her version of events to the Herald.

"It was a terrifying sight. One minute it was a verbal argument, then suddenly the victim's chest was covered in blood and his eyes had rolled to the back of his head," she wrote in an email.

"Witnesses got out of their cars to try to help, and teachers from the nearby school came as well. I was standing at the bus stop directly opposite, so I saw the whole thing."

One young witness to the attack, Adel Imran, last night gave One News a vivid account of the incident.

"A van came and smashed the BMW - just a little dent - and then the big bodybuilder man pulled the van's door and pulled him out and started pushing him.

"He tried to tell him that 'I will pay you for this', but he gave him quick punches.

"Heaps of people were calling the police 111 and then police arrived and then when we were at the bus we saw him handcuffed."