A "gutsy" young woman is being praised by police after fighting off a vicious attacker who grabbed her from behind as she walked home in West Auckland.
The 26-year-old had got off a train at Sunnyvale station around 7.40pm on Friday and was on a walkway when a man from the same train followed her.
"He then attacked the female from behind, grabbing her clothing and punching her in the face in an attempt to get her onto the ground," Detective Sergeant Peter Litherland of the Waitakere CIB said.
"The female resisted the assault by kicking and punching the male and finally scratching his face. In a gutsy display of courage the victim was able to repel what was clearly a premeditated and sinister attack."
Det Sgt Litherland said the man ran back towards the train station and the bruised and shaken victim sought police help.
The man, who would have trouble concealing the scratch marks on his face, was described as a Pacific Islander or possibly Indian aged in his late 20s or early 30s with short black hair. He had a skinny build and was wearing a long-sleeved grey sweat-shirt, black pants and black shoes.
Police wanted to hear from anyone who may have seen the man or knew his identity.