A 53-year-old Kaikohe man has been arrested early this morning in relation to a serious assault which has left an elderly man fighting for his life.

The assault occurred at a Monument Rd, Kaikohe house, on Wednesday afternoon.

The victim, who is understood to be 72, was airlifted to Whangārei Hospital in a critical condition.

The two men were known to each other.

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Detective Inspector Rhys Johnston of Northland CIB said police were alerted to an assault about 4.45pm on Wednesday.

''When we arrived we found an elderly man with some very serious head injuries,'' he said.

The victim was last night in a critical condition in hospital but by this morning he had recovered enough to speak to police.

Police conducted a thorough scene examination and this morning located and arrested a Kaikohe man.

He would face serious assault charges and was expected to appear in the Kaikohe District Court later today.

Johnston said he could not comment on the background to the assault now the alleged offender was due before the courts.

The Northland Rescue Helicopter landed in a paddock near the house where the assault occurred then flew the victim to Whangārei Hospital.

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