Mike's wife says their daughter doesn't like her "new
Forty-two seconds was all it took to destroy an Auckland
And while the men responsible may spend years in prison,
their victims will pay for the rest of their lives.
In November 2012, Mike, whose family have requested that his
last name not be published, was with friends in Pt Chevalier.
They pulled up near the Crown Hotel and one of the men went
in to buy beer.
As Mike and his other mate waited, they were confronted by a
group of men. A vicious assault took place and every bone in
Mike's face was broken - leaving him unrecognisable. He
suffered near-fatal head injuries and permanent brain damage.
He spent three weeks in a coma and had to learn to walk and
In the Auckland District Court this week, Toti Toti Junior
and James Michael Mafi were found guilty of assault. They
face up to eight and a half years in prison when they are
sentenced next month.
A third man, Stephen Uasi, was found not guilty.
Mike's wife, Gail, said that after 18 months of going through
the court process, the verdicts were a relief - but no
sentence could reflect what was taken.
"Forty-two seconds and look at what they have done. It's
crazy," she said. "I often look back to that night - I asked
Mike not to go out. I was sick and our daughter was coming
down with a cold. I remember saying to him, 'Don't go, I
think you should stay home.' If only he'd listened."
Gail has had to leave her job of 17 years to care for Mike
"I'm giving up to help Mike with his rehab and recovery.
Eighteen months down the track I don't think he is recovering
as much as he could be. I have to shoulder some of the blame
for that - because I am not there giving him the push he
needs every day.
"I also need to look after my own health. I was hospitalised
the week before the trial and it got me thinking - if
anything happens to me, Mike and my daughter are screwed. It
was a real eye-opener."
Financially, she has no idea how her family will survive. But
her priority is her husband.
"He is a shell of a person. He gets frustrated every day,
there are tears every day. I have to keep reminding myself
that while he's walking around in an adult body, he's got the
mentality of a child and that's how I need to deal with him.
"This is not what life was supposed to be like for us. We had
plans for our future which went out the window in November
Gail said it was horrendous watching her daughter cope with
her "new daddy".
After she was born, Mike stayed home to care for her when
Gail returned to work and the pair had a strong bond.
"She remembers the dad that she had and now the dad that
she's got, she doesn't like him. She says to me, 'I don't
like my new daddy.' That just reduces me to tears."
- Anna Leask