A seven-year-old girl is recovering after being sexually assaulted in her bed by a stranger who broke into her Mount Maunganui home, police say.
The man, described as "big" and in his 30s, walked into the girl's bedroom which she shared with her younger sister and indecently assaulted her while she slept on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, police say.
Tauranga Senior Sergeant Lew Warner says the girl is "bearing up well" given what had happened to her.
"She is being supported by family at this time and has given a good description to police," he said.
"This is a disturbing incident and it is very important we locate this offender."
The man is described as having a mohawk-style hair cut - spiked in the middle and short on the back and sides, and has earrings in his left ear. He was wearing a blue jacket with white stripes, knee-high shorts with a Maori design down both sides and black running shoes.
Police want to speak to members of the public who may have seen someone acting suspiciously along Oceanview Road or Sutherland Rd on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
They also want to hear from local residents who think someone may have walked through their garden or yard or who has had clothing taken from their washing line.