The manager of a Paihia backpackers lodge where two American guests were attacked says the town is still a safe place to visit.

Jacob Ulgenes, 22, and Scott Kelleher, 23, were less than 48 hours into a New Zealand holiday when they were assaulted outside Bay Adventurer Backpackers about 3am on January 3. Mr Ulgenes needed reconstructive surgery for a broken jaw while Mr Kelleher was knocked unconscious and needed seven stitches to his lip.

The manager of the Kings Rd lodge, Manuel Perez, said he felt for the victims and was shocked by the attack.

During his three years in Paihia he had heard of people being robbed on the beach late at night but it was the first time he knew of someone being attacked for no apparent reason.


"It's bad for us, because it happened outside here, and it's bad for Paihia.

People are doing a lot to keep tourism going in this town. This doesn't help at all," he said.

Mr Perez did not know what more could be done to protect visitors, though he was considering working with other lodges to boost community patrols in the Kings Rd area.

"We're more than happy to collaborate. People need to feel safe."

Mr Perez said the town should have a 24-hour police presence during the busy summer months.

Despite the attack, Mr Perez was convinced Paihia was not a dangerous or aggressive place.

"I come from Mexico City. Now that is a dangerous place. This is paradise," he said.

Whangarei-owned Bay Adventurer is Paihia's largest backpackers' lodge with space for up to 180 people in everything from apartments to dorm rooms and campsites.


Kerikeri Police Senior Sergeant Peter Robinson said police are still looking for the attacker, but say they have a strong line of inquiry to follow.