Police have today been canvassing households in the Victory area of Nelson where a 62 year old woman was savagely beaten and raped.
ESR scientists have also been conducting a scene investigation this afternoon.
The woman was working alone in a shade house at the Victory community gardens about 2.30pm.
She remains in hospital with substantial head and facial injuries, along with other lacerations and bruising to her body. Her injuries are not life-threatening.
The scene where the attack occurred is visible from a popular public walkway and Police believe it is likely people would have been using the walkway as the attack occurred. Police would like to speak to anyone who was on or near the Railway Reserve on New Year's Day about 2.30pm and who may have seen or heard something relevant to the investigation..
Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge of the Nelson CIB said Police would have a significant presence in the Victory area until the offender had been apprehended. However, he encouraged residents and those using the reserve to take reasonable precautions for their own safety.
Detective Sergeant Langridge also encouraged the offender to hand himself in.
"This man is a risk to himself and the wider community and I strongly encourage him to hand himself in," Detective Sergeant Langridge said.
He also cautioned the offender's associates that assisting a person to evade police, disposing of evidence or knowingly obstructing Police were offences.
Police hope to speak to the victim tomorrow. She remains in hospital.
If you have any information please call Nelson Police, Ph 546 3840. Anonymous information can be given by calling Crimestoppers, Ph 0800 555. 111.