An 88-year-old West Auckland woman had just returned to her house after recovering from a home invasion when she was attacked a second time.
The octogenarian was viciously assaulted about 10pm on Tuesday at her property in Milan Drive, Glen Eden.
She suffered head and neck injuries and last night was still in Auckland City Hospital.
Her daughter, who asked not to be named, told the Herald it was the second time her mother had ended up in hospital in recent weeks - she was attacked in a home invasion about two weeks ago.
"My mother's been living with me since the first attack. I got a security company to put bolts on the doors and locks on the windows.
"She was only home for six hours and she was attacked again. That's not right."
The daughter said last night that she had spent 15 hours at the hospital with her mother, who was recovering well.
"[Mum is] fiercely independent, and there must be a lot of fiercely independent people out there.
"She's been completely beaten up. She's still in hospital, but she'll be fine - she's a fighter. We're all fighters. We have a strength to keep going."
She did not want to speak about her mother's attacker or his motives, but acknowledged it was a tough thing for the family to see their mother and grandmother go through.
The family also wanted to push a simple message to others, particularly older people: be aware.
"She's an amazing, gentle person, who has helped everybody else all her life and doesn't deserve, in her late 80s, to be assaulted and treated like this. It's unfair. It's terrible what's happened, but she is still alive.
"People really need to be aware of their own security and what is required to keep them secure in their houses and maybe talk to people in the neighbourhood and to each other about being secure."
Because of the victim's injuries, police have yet to speak to her in detail about what happened, but expect to do so today.
They carried out a scene examination at her house yesterday, but did not yet have a description of the offender.
A neighbour said that during the first attack, a man had entered the woman's house through a sliding door about 4pm. She saw him and said: "Excuse me, can I help you?"
The man replied: "Your husband owes me."
The woman is a widow. Her husband died several years ago. The attacker tried to grab her but the "feisty" pensioner tried to push him back. He then put his hands around her throat, the neighbour said.
The woman then pretended to call out to her husband, saying: "John, John", telling her attacker he was sleeping.
The attacker let her go and she activated an alarm.
The neighbour said this angered the attacker, who told her, "I'm coming back for you," before leaving.
The neighbour said the second attack had been much worse, leaving the victim with a damaged nose and deep bruising around her neck and chest. It is understood the woman escaped the attack and hid in her garden before venturing back inside to set off her alarm.
Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Heather Tanguay said residents were "absolutely devastated by this turn of events. It's extremely unusual".
Mrs Tanguay acknowledged her neighbour was a "strong lady". She said it was important to come together as a community, and a neighbourhood barbecue is planned for Monday.
"We cannot be cowards. It's absolutely the worst thing for the community to bolt their doors and windows at this time."
Grey Power president Terry King called the attack "deplorable".
He said the fact that it was two weeks before Christmas made it even more horrendous.
"The whole country will be shocked and angry at this senseless attack on an innocent older person."
Mr King said Grey Power represented the welfare and well-being of older people and would not tolerate this kind of crime.
"It is official Grey Power policy to advocate for the introduction of legislation of mandatory minimum custodial sentences for persons convicted of home invasion crimes," he said.
Labour MP for Kelston, Carmel Sepuloni said she had spoken to concerned neighbours and would attend a meeting with the street on Monday night.
She had also spoken with police. "They can't give too much away at this stage but they're taking the incident very seriously.
"What we're concerned about at the moment is the safety of the people that are living on the street and the wellbeing of this poor woman who has been assaulted for the second time."
She said neighbours also had concerns about similar incidents in the area - as about a week after the first attack on the woman, a woman at a rest home neighbouring her property has been burgled.
"There was concern that the person had accessed the rest home through the property of the woman who has just been assaulted for the second time," Ms Sepuloni said.
"There really is genuine concern. I've spoken to one of the neighbours - they've changed their locks and they've increased their security."
She said everyone in the area needed to be security conscious and keep an eye on each other.
A police spokeswoman confirmed there had been an attack at Greenview Retirement Home on November 27.
"A woman was watching TV in her lounge at around 10.30pm, when she heard noises and discovered a TV and sum of money had been taken from a bedroom. It appears that the offender had entered through an open bedroom window."
She said it was unclear at this stage whether the incidents were linked and inquiries were ongoing.
Can you help?
Anyone with info should phone 111, or CrimeStoppers on 0800-555-111.