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Bashed Martinborough firefighter Peter Fisher literally took his first steps on the road to recovery yesterday with a tentative walk inside his Wellington Hospital ward.
Mr Fisher, the victim of a vicious assault nearly two weeks ago, has astounded medical staff with his recovery, according to his family.
Peter Fisher was assaulted on Broadway on October 28 after helping some young people eject an unwelcome visitor.
Earlier this week he had surgery to insert 12 metal plates in his shattered face.
His brother Paul said he had taken a few steps, helped by his physiotherapist, and was now talking "okay."
He said his brother's recovery was "nothing short of spectacular" although there was still a long way to go before he was fully recovered.
"The doctors and nurses are really impressed with just how strong he is."
Paul said his brother worked as a storeman in Wellington and his workmates told of him being able to carry heavy carpet on his own, up eight flights of stairs.
"He is the hardest working person I know."
Peter's rate of progress has been such that he is due to be transferred to a rehab unit on Monday.
Peter was eating pureed food and was starting to get his appetite back, Paul said.
"He is still sleeping for massive hours but that is part of the healing process."
The family and Peter's partner Freida have been almost constantly at his bedside.
Milton Haira, 25, unemployed, faces a charge of wounding, four of common assault and one of threatening to kill over the incident.
He has been remanded in custody until December 3.
- By Don Farmer of the Wairarapa Times-Age