A man has been moved off the critical list at Green Lane Hospital after being attacked with a patu, a traditional Maori club, in Port Waikato, southwest of Auckland.

The 34-year-old man was hit several times in the Tuesday night attack, leaving him with his chest sliced open, head and eye injuries.

Police, who initially feared he could die, said he was attacked after confronting three other males over an incident in which a vehicle was damaged at the weekend.

Two men, aged 44 and 17, appeared in Pukekohe District Court and a third, aged 15, in the Youth Court yesterday, on assault charges.

They were remanded on bail to reappear again on Friday with more serious charges expected to be laid.