Assault victim Kahu Vincent has life back on track

The Vincent family, from left to right : Kobe (6), Kahu, Savannah (9), Jade, and Roman (five months.) Life is back on track. Credit: Kahu Vincent

Kahu Vincent has spent the lockdown with his new baby, and he is relishing life.

Five years ago the father of three was brutally assaulted by Ahu Taylor and Leon Rowles at the Wānaka Night 'n Day.

Taylor was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years and eight months in jail with a non-parole period of five years. In 2015, Rowles was charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and sentenced to seven years and one month, with a minimum jail term of three years, six months, after appealing his original sentence of eight years.

After the assault, Vincent was in Dunedin intensive care unit for three weeks, then once out of a coma went straight to Wakari psychiatric hospital. The hospital cares for people undergoing neural and physical rehabilitation. 

“I don't remember anything about the assault,” he said. “I didn't know them - I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Was it drugs and alcohol? I think so. They don't even know why they did it.”

His wife Jade Makuru watched the video footage of the attack and said it was “horrible,”

“I only watched it afterwards because I knew that he was going to be ok. I couldn't have watched it if the outcome had been different,” she said.

Vincent was in Wakari for about ten weeks then went home for rehabilitation.

“The recovery was pretty crazy, there was rehab every day,” Vincent said. “I had terrible anxiety so that I couldn't go out anywhere.

“I had to learn to do everything again. It was frustrating – I couldn't play golf any more.”

After two years rehabilitating a home, which involved speech, occupational and physiotherapy Vincent went back to his profession as a gib stopper, setting up his own company, Aspiring Interiors.

“I went back to work a couple of years after rehab – I have been back about three years now,” he said

“I started my own business- I thought it would be easier because I could do my own hours. I employ two people. Last year was a good one.”

Vincent and Makuru have three children- the youngest is just five months.

The road to recovery has been difficult, Vincent said, but there has been a lot of support which has made it easier.

“I think we were lucky we were in Wānaka because it's such a small community- it would have been different if we had lived in a big city,” Makura said.

And plans for the future? “Work,” Vincent said. “And I want to get into more things.

“I don't play golf anymore- it just got hard. I used to play golf almost every day. It's been a pretty big change. These days I like gaming- it's good for my head.”

Anxiety is a big problem for her husband, Makura said.

“He was not afraid of anything beforehand but now going out in crowds, he just can't do it. He gets overwhelmed. Which makes it hard as a family going on holiday or doing anything fun with the kids, it is difficult because he won't last as long and wants to go home.”

But the couple are just grateful that five years down the track since the attack, life is getting back to normal. Just happy that Kahu has recovered and they have a happy healthy family and a thriving business.

Read edition 975 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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