Police are continuing to search for a man who exposed himself and indecently assaulted a 5-year-old girl at Cooks Beach in the Coromandel.
The naked man confronted the young girl and her 7-year-old cousin before assaulting one of them about 7.30pm as they walked along the Riverview Rd Reserve a short distance from their families on Saturday.
Members of the public and the family stepped in and the man fled in a silver hatchback car.
Police were today still searching for the man, described as a clean-shaven Caucasian with dark hair. He was carrying a red and yellow towel.
Mercury Bay community board member and local business owner Paul Hopkins told Radio New Zealand said the incident had shocked the quiet community.
"They're pretty shocked actually. Certainly, I don't know of anything like this that's happened before. We do get a lot of big influxes of people of course from all over the place and that includes people obviously of all types, including these demented sorts.
"Obviously they need to catch this person. He's sick and he needs help," he said.
He said there was a strong police presence over the summer in the area, but could stay longer as it remained popular with holidaymakers for several weeks, said Mr Hopkins.
Police were expected to reveal more details of the assault today.
Anyone in the area at the time who saw a man fitting the offender's description should phone the police on 07 858 6200 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.