A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged over an alleged sexually motivated attack on a woman in Gisborne on New Year's Day.

It happened at the Showgrounds Park Motor Camp on the outskirts of the city.

The victim was in the city for the Rhythm and Vines festival.

Police say the 24-year-old was attacked in her tent but managed to fight her assailant off.

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When other campers arrived to help, the offender made off.

The boy was taken into custody in the suburb of Kaiti late yesterday afternoon.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Ford said he had been charged with burglary, injuring with intent to injure and attempted sexual violation.

He would be appearing at the Gisborne Youth Court today. Police intend to oppose bail.