Police have launched a manhunt after a newlywed tourist was tied up and raped at gunpoint in front of her husband by two men who burst into their campervan in the Bay of Islands.
The honeymooning Dutch couple were attacked by the men, armed with a shotgun, at the picturesque Haruru Falls carpark, just out of Paihia, at 10pm on Friday, as they prepared to go to sleep.
The terrified couple were then tied up and the woman raped at gunpoint in front of her husband who was powerless to help her, said a man who later comforted them.
The newlyweds, two months into their honeymoon, had parked in the carpark for the night when two men burst into their Toyota campervan.
They were forced into the back of the van, tied up, driven around the Bay of Islands and Kawakawa for several hours and forced to empty their bank accounts at ATMs.
During that time the woman was raped.
The offenders fled with several items of property, leaving the couple in their van at the Towai cemetery near Kawakawa about 3am. They walked through the dark for 1km before finding a house and banging on the door.
Police have launched a manhunt for the attackers and sealed off the road where the couple were left.
The resident of the house, who asked not to be identified, told the Herald on Sunday the couple were deeply shaken by the ordeal and had marks on their wrists from the bindings.
He added: "They were still in shock. He was probably more shaken than her, having to watch what she was going through without him being able to do anything."
The resident said he comforted the traumatised couple for about an hour as they told him of their ordeal. They were later taken to the police station and the woman went to hospital for a check-up.
"They just started walking until they found a house. Their English was very good. We just gave them a hot drink and we didn't ask too much about it.
"They just told us they had been robbed and the wife had been raped. They were both tied up and they went to money machines at gunpoint."
The man said he was furious when the couple told him what happened.
"It doesn't make you feel proud to be a New Zealander. But they were very good - they said they still loved the country and it happens anywhere in the world."
He continued: "I'd like to show them not all Kiwis are like that. I think they know that though."
Police are still scouring Northland for the two attackers. They do not know if the men are locals.
Detective Inspector Mike Pannett said such incidents were "extremely uncommon in the Far North area and police have significant concerns over the nature and seriousness of this incident".
He could not confirm that the woman had been raped.
"Certainly it is a consideration that we are working through at the moment. The victims are receiving medical attention so we are waiting for that to be completed first."
Police advised people camping either in tents or campervans in the Bay of Islands to use designated camping grounds and to report any suspicious behaviour to the nearest police.
Pannett said the couple were traumatised and did not want to talk to media.
He would not reveal what was stolen, as police hoped to recover the items, or provide a description of the men, who covered their faces during the attack.
Inspector Kerry Watson of Police Communications said: "We will not stop looking until we have found them."
Police are appealing for anyone who saw the white campervan in the Haruru Falls, Paihia, Kawakawa or wider Bay of Islands area on Friday or Saturday to ring police Operations Falls (09) 405 2966.
- additional reporting Catherine Woulfe