A teen who ran to the aid of a woman being attacked at a campground on New Year's Day has described her "horrific" screams.

Noam Whiteside, 18, said he returned from the Rhythm and Vines music festival to his tent at Gisborne's A&P Showgrounds when he heard a woman screaming for help just after midnight.

"They were the most horrific screams I've ever heard," he said.

The trainee pilot said he ran to the woman's tent where he saw a man on top of her.


"I yelled out and he bolted, so I chased after him."

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, police said.

The woman was attacked by an unknown man at A&P Showgrounds Campground on Main Road in Gisborne.
The woman was attacked by an unknown man at A&P Showgrounds Campground on Main Road in Gisborne.

Police said the 24-year-old victim was asleep in her tent when the unknown man entered and began a sexually motivated attack.

Whiteside said he returned to comfort the woman, who was standing near her tent, before rounding up a group of friends also staying at the campsite, to search for the offender.

"She was pretty distraught and broke down," he said.

Another camper, Samantha Cane, was with Whiteside when they heard the cries for help.

The 18-year-old said she took the woman to her tent after the attack.

"She felt a bit more assured having another girl there. I was hugging her and comforting her.

"Noam came back to the tent and asked the girl if we should call police. We helped her decide that that was the right thing to do."

The victim was staying at the campground with her friends, who were all at Rhythm and Vines when the attack happened, Whiteside said.

Police are hunting for an offender who is described as being of slim or athletic build and is aged in his late teens to early 20s.

"He attacked the woman and she has fought back and screamed," said Sergeant Stephen Smith.

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

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

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

Smith described the assault as very serious and a traumatic experience for the young woman.

"The victim has received medical attention and given detailed information in regards to the 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.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Gisborne Police on (06) 831 0700 or Crimestoppers anonymous: 0800 555 111.