As Wayne Dawson bled after being attacked walking home in Marewa, Napier, his first thought was 'what is going on?'.
Dawson, 57, says the attack near midnight on Saturday, on the corner of Herrick St and Douglas McLean Ave, was completely random.
He claims it included an attempt to "scalp" him, and has a two-centimetre deep gash stitched up on the back of his head to prove it.
The attack on his walk back from Blue Water Hotel in Ahuriri happened quickly, before Dawson got a glimpse of his two or three attackers.
Police are investigating the incident.
Dawson says he no longer feels safe walking around his home city.
"I was walking on the footpath, it was dark so I could not see their faces clearly, but they were young," Dawson said.
"They tried to scalp me and they put the boot in.
"It's usually a safe place, but I am going to catch taxis from now on."
The culprits left, taking his phone and leaving Dawson in a pool of blood on the footpath.
"The guy who lives around the corner heard the commotion, he thought they were trying to steal his car," Dawson said.
The assault happened outside a house. The occupant came out to check on his car and found Dawson lying next to it.
"He couldn't believe how much blood I had lost. He called the ambulance."
Dawson's daughter Sarah-Louise Dawson said she was filled with "so many emotions" when the police woke her up to tell her about the incident.
"They [police] said my father had been badly attacked, when I saw him in the ambulance with blood all over him and a big bandage on his head, it was devastating to see my father like that," Sarah-Louise said.
"It was not till the next day when we started to piece it all together that I realised how cruel, brutal and cowardly the attack was. It could have ended in more of a tragic way."
The death of her granddad a few weeks ago made the incident more "raw", she said.
"We lost our granddad only a couple of weeks ago so our emotions are still quite raw," Sarah-Louise said.
"Dad had photos of him on his phone that he will never get back due to this."
Dawson has since been back to the owner of the house who helped him out.
"I thanked him and he said 'you're welcome'. There was so much blood outside still, his partner was out with a scrubber and brush trying to clean it," Dawson said.