A Kerikeri man hospitalised with a broken jaw and cracked vertebrae after an attack on Saturday night says he owes his life to the "angel" who intervened.
Matty Temonanui Grace, 22, had been walking around Kerikeri on Saturday evening, having only just moved there from Auckland the Wednesday before.
Temonanui Grace, who was staying with family, said he didn't know many people and had planned on checking out the town.
"I can remember walking from the clubs back home," he said.
"The next thing I can remember is getting pushed over and then kicked in the side of my head.
"And then I was out."
From here, Temonanui Grace said his memory was murky.
"I can vaguely remember looking up and seeing a girl sitting by my head."
But he didn't remember being rushed to Bay of Islands Hospital where he was treated for a broken jaw and cracked vertebrae.
He spent Saturday night and most of the next day in hospital. When he was out, he went about tracking down the young woman who stepped between him and the attackers, as well as another woman he had heard helped out.
Temonanui Grace said both girls had been "pretty cool" when he messaged them. They told him it didn't look like he had deserved it and said the attack was "uncalled for".
I am very lucky to have had an angel over me, she saved my life.
Footage captured on a CCTV camera inside McDonald's and handed to police showed two people punching Temonanui Grace and kicking him unconscious.
Police allege the two attackers had followed him to the fast-food outlet on Kerikeri Rd.
Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston called the attack "brutal and cowardly", but praised the members of the public who intervened.
"This included a very slight-looking young lady who steps out of the restaurant and right into the path of the offenders to protect the victim, who by that stage was lying unconscious on the ground," Johnston said.
"Several other people, including McDonald's staff, got involved and prevented any further attack."
Johnston said the man's injuries could have been a lot worse if it hadn't been for the intervention of the bystanders.
Two Kerikeri locals, aged 16 and 19, have been arrested and charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Temonanui Grace had been told by doctors that a full recovery would take around six months.
He said he was on "mega" painkillers and was extremely groggy when speaking to the Herald on Wednesday.
He was expecting a visit from police this afternoon, when he would make a statement.
But all that was on his mind was visiting the two women who helped him.
"All I know is that I really want to see those two girls, I'm honestly so thankful."
"I am very lucky to have had an angel over me, she saved my life."