Almost a year after a one-punch assault, a Palmerston North man is still recovering and has lost his sense of taste and smell.

Manawatu police said the man had been walking with a group of friends on the evening of Saturday, August 12, 2017, when he stopped to talk to the occupants of a small SUV-type vehicle parked opposite The Office Bar on Main St.

His friends kept walking, but turned back to see their friend lying flat on the pavement, and the car speeding away.

The man received serious head injuries. At the time, he had to be put into a drug-induced coma at Wellington Hospital.

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Police said the recovery was ongoing and, as well as losing his sense of taste and smell, the victim had no memory of the incident.

Detectives are now appealing for information from anyone who saw the incident, or with information.

At the time, witnesses saw the male front-seat passenger punch the victim once.

Witnesses have also identified the driver of the vehicle as a young, thin, Caucasian female with distinctive white-blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

It is believed a further two men were passengers.

The vehicle was a small SUV or 4x4, which had a spare wheel mount on the rear door, although the spare wheel was missing.

• Anyone who has seen the vehicle, witnessed the incident, or has information, can contact Palmerston North Police on (06) 350 3860. Information can also be sent to Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.