Police are working through a "large number" of suspects in relation to the violent rape of a 62-year-old woman in Nelson on New Year's Day.

Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge said there had been a steady flow of information from the public since police released a computer-generated sketch of the offender from a description provided by the victim.

Mr Langridge said members of the public had nominated a large number of people who fitted that description.

Police were working through the list and continued to have a heightened presence in the area where the attack happened.


The woman was bashed and sexually assaulted in a community garden in the Victory area of Nelson as she worked alone on Tuesday afternoon, in an attack police described as "cowardly and prolonged".

The offender was described as either Maori or Polynesian, 170cm tall, with a short, "number 3" haircut.

He had distinctive tribal-style tattoos, with one arm covered from the shoulder to the wrist and the other arm from the shoulder to the elbow.

Anyone with information was urged to call Nelson police on 03 546 3840, the Operation Corinna free call number 0508 267 4662 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.