Police are on the hunt for a man who broke into a house and indecently assaulted a 7-year-old girl in her room.
Senior Sergeant Lew Warner said the man entered the girl's bedroom where she was sleeping with her younger sister, and indecently assaulted her.
The incident happened in her Oceanview Rd home late on Tuesday night or early on Wednesday morning.
Mr Warner said the man was described as a "a big person", Maori and in his 30s.
"He had hair spiked up in the middle and short everywhere else with ear rings in his left ear. He was wearing a blue jacket with white stripes and knee high shorts with a Maori design down both sides."
The man also wore black running shoes.
Mr Warner, of Tauranga south police, said the girl was coping well, given what had happened to her.
"She is being supported by family at this time and has given a good description to police."
"This is a disturbing incident and it is very important we locate this offender."
A detailed scene examination was completed yesterday. Police are continuing to investigate today.
Neighbours reported police cars arriving at the house on Oceanview Rd, Mt Maunganui about 8.30am yesterday.
At one point two unmarked police cars and four marked cars were at the scene.
Police went door-to-door seeking information from neighbours. One nearby resident told the Bay of Plenty Times the police asked him if he had seen anyone looking in the windows but he was unaware anything had happened until the morning.
"It was so windy last night I actually didn't hear anything," he said.
"This is an awesome neighbourhood. I never lock my car or anything. We're just surrounded by families."
Another Oceanview Rd resident said the news came as a shock.
"It's just too close to home. It doesn't really happen that much around the Mount. You hear about it in Tauranga but not really in the Mount," she said.
"I think everyone's a bit nervous and a bit scared. Whoever this creep is I hope he gets caught."
The mother of three said her children went to the same school as the girl.
One neighbour said she often got up to check what was going on when she was woken by a dog barking but did not hear anything on the night of the break-in.
"It really is a house that's ideal to break into because it's surrounded by the trees."
Police are appealing to anyone who has seen suspicious activity in the Sutherland Road and Oceanview area to contact them.
"Have you seen anyone in the area acting in an unusual manner in recent weeks or thought someone may have been in your garden? Maybe you have lost clothing from your washing line?," Mr Warner said.
"If you have noticed something but aren't sure it is worth mentioning it is important you call us anyway and let police assess the relevance of what you saw."
Police would like to hear from anyone who saw suspicious behaviour in the Sutherland Rd/Oceanview Rd area on Tuesday night or during the previous weeks.
Phone Tauranga police on 07 577 4300 if you have information or anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.