An attack on a woman as she walked home near Victoria University in Wellington early this morning was sexually motivated, police say.
The woman was walking up the City to Sea stairs from the Terrace to the Boyd Wilson Field when she was attacked by an unknown man about 1.55am.
The victim screamed and fought off the attacker then ran down towards the Terrace.
Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee, of the Wellington crime squad, said police were very concerned about the offender preying on women in the community.
The man was using the isolated area, which was a common route to university accommodation, to wait for woman walking alone and then attack them.
"This is not a safe area and I am appealing to woman and students not to walk through this area,'' Mr McKee said.
"Please travel home from the city in a taxi or walk with your friends so you are not alone.''
Police had increased their presence and patrols in the area and would be working with Victoria University to address this risk area.
Police wanted to hear from anyone who had seen any suspicious activity in the area or anyone who had been assaulted there but not reported it.
"We are determined to catch this offender and get him off the streets before he attacks again,'' Mr McKee said.
The attacker was described as Caucasian, 180cm tall, aged 25 - 30, of a medium build with light coloured facial hair. He was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt.
Anyone with information was urged to contact Wellington police on (04) 4723000 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 274637.