An ex-security guard lying beaten in hospital says he was trying to protect his children when he was set upon by a group of young men outside a petrol station in Papamoa.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, Daniel Proctor, 38, woke to a frantic call from his teenaged daughter saying her brother had been attacked.
He drove 10 minutes to the scene, the road outside the Gull self-service station on Parton Rd.
He arrived to see his 17-year-old son with a black eye, cuts, and a ripped shirt, and his daughter, 19, crying hysterically. She told him she had been punched in the face.
They were with four other teenaged friends including his nephew.
Proctor said that as he started ushering the youths into their cars, trying to calm them down, a car pulled up. The occupants - a group of mostly young men - got out and approached, he said.
"I knew straight away by their persona that they meant business," Proctor said.
Another car turned up and its occupants joined the group walking towards his son.
Proctor said he put himself in front of his son, hoping to prevent a fight, but the group kept advancing.
He turned his back to take the brunt and pushed his son, telling the teens to run, he said.
"I was kicked to the ground and lost sight of my son."
When he stood up, his son was behind him again and the group began attacking his nephew. Proctor said he ran in trying to stop this, but they were set upon again.
The girls were screaming, pleading with them to stop, he said. They did, and left the scene.
Proctor said he got his children into their cars and his son and nephew left, but the battery on his car had died.
The three girls helped him jumpstart it. As he was shutting the bonnet, the group that attacked them returned.
"Two cars parked up and they all got out and started approaching, asking where everyone was," he said.
"I said I was the wrong person, the girls started pleading. I pushed my daughter to the side because I knew they were going to attack again," he said.
The group allegedly set on Proctor again.
"It took a while before they got me to the ground. They were all just throwing punches," he said.
Proctor said he tried fighting back but against that number of people, "it was a losing battle".
"They got me to the ground and just stomped on me for a good minute or so.
"I could hear my daughter screaming, that's what was getting me."
He said that as the blows fell, his head and body had rebounded off the car and gutter he was stuck between.
"You can't even describe the blows ... you knew there were more than three people because of how fast the blows were coming and where they were going."
"I could feel myself, with each blow, losing strength ... I wanted it to stop, and I was hoping for it to stop, but it just kept going," he said.
"I'm an ex-security guard so I've seen it all ... I was actually thinking when I was getting kicked in, that I wasn't going to survive."
"I was only a father trying to protect my children."
He got up and was attacked again, he said.
At this point some of the attackers stopped and apologised, he said. Proctor believed they realised the gravity of the assault.
The group returned to their cars and left.
Proctor said he started driving to hospital with his daughter but turned around when he saw another of his son's friends driving towards the scene.
By the time he reached the youth, he had allegedly been assaulted, suffering a gash on his eyebrow that would later need five stitches.
Proctor said the attackers fled in the youth's car as he yelled that the police had been called.
As he went to console the youth, he started feeling his own injuries.
"I sat down and was passing in and out."
Police and two ambulances arrived and Proctor was taken to Tauranga Hospital along with two others.
"I'm quite pleased I turned up, and I'd do it again if it meant that my kids weren't harmed because if I wasn't there, I can only imagine what they would've done to my son and nephew."
Ray Bryers, Proctor's best friend and father of the teen whose car was allegedly stolen, said he was disgusted by the "brutal" attack on the teens and his mate trying to protect them.
Proctor has spent the last four days in Tauranga Hospital. When he spoke to the Bay of Plenty Times he was wearing a neckbrace and had a broken nose, severely swollen head, ripped ears, a concussion, and swelling to his neck, face, lips, and jaw.
He said the "brutal" ordeal had left his children "traumatised".
"My son said he blames himself."
His daughter "cries about it because she thought I wasn't going to get up either".
Proctor said he had spoken to three of the teens about what happened before he arrived. He said they told him they were filling up at the gas station when a car pulled up, and one of the girls called out, thinking she knew the occupants.
Proctor said verbal abuse was hurled at the girls and his son and nephew were assaulted after they stepped in to protect them.
Proctor hoped those responsible would be found.
Police have confirmed they were called to an altercation on Parton Rd at 1.27am on Sunday.
A spokeswoman said a vehicle was stolen but had since been found, and inquiries were ongoing to determine the circumstances of the incident.
Police said yesterday no one had yet been charged in relation to the incident.
They appealed for any witnesses to call 105, and quote the file number 210117/8648.
A St John media spokeswoman said two ambulances were called to the scene at 1.52am.
Three people were taken to Tauranga Hospital; one with serious injuries, one moderate, and one with minor injuries.
A Gull New Zealand spokesman said the incident happened on the road outside the gas station and not on the forecourt.
Security footage has been supplied to police, he said.