Police in Gisborne are hunting a man who attacked a woman as she slept at a campground early on New Year's Day.

The attack was sexually motivated, police said.

The incident happened at the A&P Showgrounds Campground on Main Road about 12.20am.

Police said the 24-year-old victim was sleeping in her tent when an unknown man entered.


"He attacked the woman and she has fought back and screamed,'' police said.

"Other campers have heard the disturbance and come to the woman's assistance. The man was chased off by campers.''

Police said the offender made off in a light-coloured SUV which was seen entering the premises around midnight. There were at least two people in the vehicle at the time.

Authorities said other campers reported items stolen and police believe the thefts are connected with the assault.

The offender is described as being of slim or athletic build and is aged in his late to early 20s.

"The victim reported biting his hand and arm - it is possible he has visible bite marks.''

Police described the assault as very serious and had been a traumatic experience for the young woman.

"The victim has received medical attention and given details information in regards tot he incident.

"She is being supported by friends and family, Victim Support and Police. The victim is not from Gisborne and has since returned home.''

Anyone who may have seen the vehicle or has any information - no matter how small - that may be helpful to authorities investigating the incident is being urged to contact police immediately.

The incident follows similar attacks on young women or girls in the last week.

A 14-year-old girl managed to fight off a man who approached her near a public toilet facility in Stoke on New Year's night in Nelson.

The teenager was with her 12-year-old sister when the stranger approached them about 10.30pm.

The man was described as Caucasian aged between 40 to 50-years-old and was of medium build with short brown or blonde hair.

On Monday, two teenage girls were approached by four men and indecently assaulted on a beach in Mt Maunganui.

The incident happened about 12.30am.

Two men - aged 21 and 24 - have been arrested and charged with indecent assault. Two other men are being spoken to by police.

Police in Northland are also investigating the alleged rape and drugging of a 14-year-old girl in Kohukohu, in the Hokianga.

• Can you help? Anyone with information is urged to contact Gisborne Police on (06) 831 0700 or CrimeStoppers anonymous: 0800 555 111.