UPDATED: 9/12 2.25pm
Police are searching for a man who followed a teenage girl then physically assaulted her when she walked home from school yesterday.
The 15-year-old girl was walking along Gulliver Rd, in rural Paengaroa, after she got off a school bus at the corner of Gulliver Rd and SH2 around 4pm.
Detective Sergeant Ryan Yardley of Te Puke police said the teenage girl was attacked from behind after she heard footsteps.
"The girl struggled with the man for a short time but managed to fight him off. He then ran off in the direction of SH2,"
Mr Yardley said the actions of the girl were "brave".
"This is a concerning incident and we are treating it seriously," he said.
"Whilst we don't want the community to be unduly alarmed it is clearly important that we identify this offender."
The man is described is Indian, aged around 20, of tall skinny build and with short hair.
Police are appealing for sightings of anyone fitting this description seen in the SH2 or Gulliver Rd area at any time on Tuesday.
Police also want to hear from anyone who may have given someone fitting this description a ride throughout the day, in the Te Puke or Paengaroa area.
The girl is recovering with her family.
Information can be given to Te Puke police on 07 573 9147. Alternatively information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
UPDATED: 9/12 8am
Police are hunting for a man who physically assaulted a teenage girl in Te Puke.
The 15-year-old girl was followed by the man, who then tackled her to the ground near a bus stop on Gulliver Rd, Te Puke, about 4.14pm yesterday.
Western Bay of Plenty Area Commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said when the girl tried to get up, she was physically assaulted by the man before he ran off through nearby orchard properties.
Mr Paxton said the man was of Indian decent.
He said police were interested in hearing from anybody who may have witnessed this incident or seen this person in the area at the time.
Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Tauranga Police on 07 577 4300.
Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Police have cordoned off an area near a bus stop in Paengaroa after a man accosted a young woman this afternoon.
It is believed a man approached a young girl and pushed her into the bush after she got off a bus about 4.30pm.
Police have cordoned off an area at the corner of Gulliver Rd and State Highway 2 near Paengaroa.
At 5.30pm, emergency services remained at the scene.