With one eye swollen shut and lips ballooned to the size of a thumb, a family barely recognised their son and brother.
The 32-year-old Hastings man is fighting for his life after an alleged unprovoked attack in Havelock North at the weekend.
His family are bracing themselves for the worst as it's too soon to tell the extent of his injuries.
"He's had a rough couple of days," his sister said. She asked not to be named to protect her brother's privacy.
"He's just starting to breathe for himself again and basically they don't know if he's brain damaged at this stage."
His face was beaten and bruised. He could possibly lose sight in one eye and his speech could be permantly impaired.
The man's mother and step father had been driving to Hastings to catch up with their children and grandchildren when they got a call from the police.
The details of the incident were still sketchy, but his family believe he was not breathing when he was found. They are unsure how long he was lying on the pavement for.
His sister received a text from her brother about 2am Sunday morning saying he was out having a good time with mates. He had gone out to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday.
Detective sergeant Craig Vining said the man was outside the clock tower public toilets on Te Aute Rd when he was attacked just before 4am, Sunday.
He said it was a viscous unprovoked attack.
Two 17-year-olds were arrested hours after media published images of the pair captured on security footage.
''It was heartening that the public rallied around the victim and contacted Police with information so quickly, which has assisted in the charging of these two men," Vining said.
The pair charged with injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm were granted interim name suppression when they appeared in Hastings District Court today.
They entered no plea and were remanded on bail till August 26.
Outside of court, the victim's family were still in shock at the weekend's turn of events. It wasn't the fun-filled family time they had planned.
His step-father said the two young men charged had possibly ruined someone's life. He was disappointed they had been given bail.
"They let the buggers out, what if they go and do it again?"
His sister said her brother would not have fought back.
"He's a big softie," she said.
"He's a hard working guy, he didn't deserve this."
- The Dominion Post