The man who attacked a teenager in Paengaroa this week was seen in the area the morning of the attack.
Te Puke police said the man was seen leaving Gulliver Rd on foot at about the time the 15-year-old victim caught the school bus that morning.
"The man walked out of Gulliver Rd at around 7.30am, turned towards Te Puke township on SH2 and started hitch-hiking," police said.
The teenager was attacked later that day in Gulliver Rd while on her way home.
The assault happened after she hopped off the bus at the corner of SH2 and Gulliver Rd about 4pm on Tuesday.
She heard footsteps behind her and was then tackled from behind.
The girl struggled with the man for a short time but managed to fight him off. He then ran away towards SH2.
Te Puke police are appealing for sightings of an Indian male seen in the area on Tuesday morning.
The man is described as Indian, of tall skinny build and with short hair.
Police are also keen to hear from anyone who gave a lift to an Indian man matching the description, who was hitch-hiking out of Te Puke at any time that day.
Police said the 15-year-old was "doing well" and had returned to school today.
Information can be given to Te Puke police on 07 573 9147 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.