A seven-year-old Mt Maunganui girl has been indecently assaulted as she slept in the bedroom she shared with her younger sister, police say.
They have appealed for information after the assault late on Tuesday or early Wednesday.
The man was described as a big person, in his 30s and Maori. He had hair spiked up in the middle and short everywhere else with earrings in his left ear, police said.
He was wearing a blue jacket with white stripes and knee high shorts with a Maori design down both sides. He also had black running shoes.
Senior Sergeant Lew Warner of Tauranga south police said the girl was 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," Warner said.
"This is a disturbing incident and it is very important we locate this offender."
Police wanted to hear from anyone who had seen suspicious activity in the Sutherland Rd and Oceanview Rd area of Mt Maunganui.
"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?
"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," Warner said.
A detailed scene examination has been completed at the house.