A friend of an Indian man who was brutally attacked in South Auckland believed his attackers were "out to kill him".

Rahuldeep Bawa, 23, said when he was told a man had been attacked in Takanini on Tuesday, he didn't expect the victim to be his friend and neighbour Satpal Singh.

The 26-year-old from Punjab had gone for a walk after telling friends he had just obtained a New Zealand work visa, but never returned.

Satpal, who suffered head injuries and is in an induced coma, was identified by Bawa and friends in Auckland Hospital two days after the attack.

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"I was shocked to see how bad his injuries are, this is not just an ordinary attack," Bawa said.

"Nobody walks around with a weapon, so whoever did it must be out to kill him."

Satpal was just five minutes from his Takanini home when he was brutally attacked about 10pm on Tuesday.

"It is not usual for him to take a walk so late in the night, so it is very strange," Bawa said.

"We are all hoping he will recover with no memory loss, so he can say exactly what happened."

Police had to appeal to the public to identify Satpal, who was found lying critically injured on the footpath on Great South Rd.

According to Bawa, Satpal had been working as a furniture mover and more recently as a car salesman.

He arrived in New Zealand in November, 2013, as an international student and got a three-year work visa the night before he was assaulted.

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Satpal was living in Christchurch, and moved to Auckland in early June.

Daljit Singh of the Sikh Supreme Society in South Auckland said he had been in constant contact with Satpal's family.

An application has been lodged for emergency travel documents for father Ajmer Singh, a police officer in Punjab.

"He should get the visa early next week and will travel here as soon as he can," Daljit said.

"The nurses are planning to reduce [Satpal's] medication and wake him up either today or tomorrow," Daljit said.

"They want to do that in the presence of friends and people he will be able to recognise."

Daljit said he had spoken to Satpal's father "just a few minutes ago" but there was little he could say.

"He wants to know if Satpal is recovering, and to talk to him on the phone," Daljit said.

"For the time being, that is still not possible."

Police said the investigation was continuing but no arrests had been made.