Lydiah Munene treats every day as a gift.

A year after an attack that killed her friend and left her at death's door, the Christchurch nurse is smiling and thankful she is still alive to be a mother to her two sons, Michael, 14, and James, 9.

She can even forgive the person who took her friend's life and nearly her own.

"I don't think about the past. I'm just thinking about my kids. It's a gift to be alive," she told the Herald in her first media interview since the attack.

"And that is why I have become a very positive person ... Once you forgive and forget, you just start getting other good things following you."

Ms Munene, 35, was found with critical head injuries in her Christchurch flat alongside the slain body of friend Stephen Mwangi Maina, 38, in September last year.

Police say a weapon was used, but will not disclose what it was.

She was taken to Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit and placed in an induced coma.

Part of Ms Munene's skull had to be removed to relieve pressure on her swollen brain, and she now has a titanium plate in her head. She had to re-learn the English language which she lost after the trauma to her brain.

Ms Munene's estranged husband, Samuel Ngumo Njuguna, is believed to have travelled to his homeland of Kenya a day after the attack.

He is being sought by police in relation to the attack, but police are unable to comment on progress in finding him.

Ms Munene, who moved to New Zealand six years ago with her husband and children, said she had no memory of the attack. "I know what was done to me, but I don't have any memory of that day."

Ironically, Ms Munene had started work as a nurse at Christchurch Hospital not long before she was rushed there for surgery following the attack.

Those caring for her and visiting friends would not tell her what had caused her injuries.

She remembers questioning a nursing student taking her to rehabilitation.

"And I asked her 'why am I in a wheelchair? Where is my uniform? I work here'. That was the first time [I remember]." After she was told what had happened to her and Mr Maina, Ms Munene went to church and prayed "seriously".

"I just felt that God told me to relax and to forgive, and that is what I did."

Ms Munene said she had not known Mr Maina for long, but considered him a friend and "good person" who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She is planning to join an induction programme for new nurses in February.

Her sons were doing well. "They are happy. We operate as a family, and we discuss things. And I ask them if they have any problems. And they don't seem to have any problems."