A Wellington woman is in hospital after being assaulted last night.
Police have cordoned off the footpath on High St in Taita, as well as a nearby empty house.
Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Sears said the serious assault happened on the footpath outside the Taita shops around 4am.
The offender is described as a "very dark skinned" man with short dreadlocks.
It's believed he left the area on a bike, and was last seen riding towards Silverstream.
"I urge anyone who may have seen anything in the Taita shops area, or a male riding a bicycle, to contact police urgently," Sears said.
The seriously injured woman is now in hospital.
Neighbours said two police cars arrived about 6am, before putting up the cordon and a white tent.
A neighbour, who didn't want to be named, said the flat within the cordon had been empty since at least December last year.
She said she was relatively new to the area and it was usually pretty quiet.
Another neighbour said she noticed the cordon when she was walking her son to school.