Police have revealed the man they suspect of serial rapes in Hamilton worked as a bouncer and died in Australia in 2013.
A press conference was held today in relation to developments in the investigation into three rapes in 2007.
Detective Inspector Chris Page said the man was a 28-year-old Hamilton man who worked as a bouncer.
He moved to Perth in 2008 but died in non-suspicious circumstances in July 2013.
Police have decided not to release the man's name out of respect for the man's family.
The man was not part of police's 500-strong suspect shortlist released in 2008.
Mr Page said the man managed to escape their notice as he didn't have any criminal background - which would mean his DNA is on file - however, his DNA sample was taken and lodged - through Interpol - with some overseas countries, including Australia.
Hamilton police received word that the DNA profile loaded on the Australian DNA Crime Scene databank for the police operation, dubbed Operation Phil, had been matched to the Perth-based New Zealand man.
Police were only this month able to complete their ESR analysis and confirm the DNA identification of the ex-pat as the person responsible for the attacks.
"Although the alleged offender in this matter has been identified by police, he is not able to be named, as he is not convicted of these offences."
Mr Page said the man came to the attention of police in Western Australia in May 2013 for a non-sexual crime, for which his DNA was taken.
He died two months later in "non-suspicious circumstances".
"This man was not on police's list of nominated persons and there is nothing in his background or circumstances to suggest that he should have been."
The man's family were shocked at the new development, he said.
"Naturally, they are distraught about the news regarding his activities."
Mr Page said he had discussed with the rapist's family the opportunity to work with their criminal profile team, to get an understanding of what happened in the man's life, that no one saw, that may have turned him into a serial rapist.
However, the family had a lot of information to digest.
"This is a significant event for them to get an understanding of ... we will talk with [them] next week."
However, more importantly, he said, the victims and Hamilton residents no longer needed to fear the man.
The victims were still traumatised though, he said.
"But each of them has a sense of relief about this small part of it. This stuff will never go away for them.
"However, I hope today's news allows them - and others in the Hamilton community who remain strongly affected by these offences - to no longer be fearful."
The only image police had of the rapist was the identikit picture from one of the victims. After discovering who he was, Mr Page said the identikit picture was a "very, very good likeness".
As the man was now dead, they would be closing their file.
Police first announced the rapist was on the loose in August 2007.
READ MORE: Hunting a 'charming' serial rapist (2007).
The three women were raped six or seven weeks apart. Their attacker offered his victims a ride in the early hours of a Sunday before taking her on a short journey to where he raped her.
At the time Mr Page described a feeling of "real fear" among Hamilton women.
The man they were hunting was thought to be European and aged 18 to 40.
An identikit photo released at the time, showed a man with blonde hair, wearing a dark cap.
A leading criminal profiler said the rapist was "highly likely" to be married with children and "charming", "trustworthy" and "believable".