Martinborough man Peter Fisher will spend Christmas and the new year learning to walk properly again - more than seven weeks after his face was shattered in a brutal bashing.
The volunteer fireman has spent the past month in Porirua's ABI Rehabilitation, a centre that provides rehabilitation services for people with traumatic brain injury or stroke.
His father, Brian, said although his son was "improving day by day", there was still a long way to go in his recovery.
"He's starting to walk pretty freely with the aid of a walking stick, but he's still got a bad limp.
"He's got a very good physio and that's helping him, and with every brain injury it's a case of teaching yourself how to put your feet where you want them to go."
Mr Fisher had gone to eject an unwanted guest from a gathering of 14-year- olds in Martinborough on October 28, when the alleged gatecrasher is said to have attacked him.
He suffered some brain damage as well as extensive fractures to his eye sockets, nose, cheeks and mouth, including a dislodged upper palate and three missing teeth.
Repairing Mr Fisher's injured face was like doing a jigsaw puzzle, said Swee Tan, the surgeon who led the five-hour operation.
Brian Fisher said his son's face had healed well. "When they took the bandages off we didn't really know what it was going to look like, but it pretty much looked like the old Pete."
The family had been given a tentative target of January for taking him home.
"We're hoping it's earlier in January rather than later on. But with the hiding he took, he's very lucky."
His family, including partner Freida Kokiri and their 15-year-old daughter, Sian, visited often.
Martinborough man Milton Haira, 25, has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, as well as assaulting four teenage girls and threatening to kill three members of the group.
He has been remanded in custody without plea until next month, when he will reappear in Masterton District Court.
- The Dominion Post
If you had a choice, which would you prefer on Christmas day?Related story: Sun takes a Christmas holiday