A convicted rapist being hunted by police had been commended for his post-release progress only months before by the parole board, which told him it did not need to see him again.

Nigel Robert Gately, 48, is understood to have removed his electronic monitoring bracelet and fled the St Albans, Christchurch, address where he was being monitored.

Gately was last known to be in Kaikoura, 180km away, at 3.30am this morning, and police have asked people in Marlborough to be on the look-out for him.

He was believed to be wearing a black puffer jacket and driving a purple Ford Falcon with the registration CKT152.


Detective Sergeant Chris Power said Gately, who has convictions for rape, assault with intent to commit rape and abduction for sex, was regarded as a "high risk offender".

Gately was serving a sentence of preventive detention for serious sexual offending committed in 2000.

According to a parole board decision earlier this year, one of the offences was committed within three months of his release after serving the mandatory two thirds of a sentence of his eight years imposed for rape in 1994.

After graduation from the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme and obtaining release to work, Gately was released in May last year, with standard conditions imposed.

In November, the board considered a progress report, which it found "satisfactory", but asked for a further report which was received in March.

This found there was no concern about any increase in risk.

In its decision, following an April hearing, the board said Gately was "to be commended" on the progress report and did not require to be seeing him again.

"He appears to be doing very well including with his continuing work with [withheld] and in his engagement with [withheld]," the decision stated.


But the board noted Gately would be "acutely aware" of what could happen should there be "any problem emerging with his engagement with parole".

Gately was subject to a raft of parole conditions, including not to leave Christchurch, not to have any contact with any victim and not to move from his address without notifying his probation officer.

He was also prohibited from consuming drugs and alcohol, and ordered to comply with requirements of GPS-based electronic monitoring.

Gately is described as being 6' 1" tall, with blonde/grey hair, blue eyes and solidly built.

Police are advising anyone who sees Gately to call 111 immediately.