A 16-year-old Turangi boy will appear in court today charged with the sexual violation of a 5-year-old girl in a holiday park - an attack described by her parents as a "random act of evil".
Police last night announced the arrest exactly one week after the attack on the young tourist that horrified locals and the rest of the country.
Up to 30 officers worked on the Operation Turangi investigation and inquiry chief Detective Inspector Mark Loper said they became "interested" in the local boy and interviewed him yesterday afternoon.
The 16-year-old will appear in the Taupo Youth Court this afternoon to face charges of sexual violation, aggravated wounding and burglary.
The family of the girl, on holiday from Europe, said last night that they were "very relieved" after hearing of the arrest.
In a statement, they expressed their gratitude to the police and praised the generosity of the Turangi community, which raised $13,000 for them.
"We can't thank [the police] enough. They were meticulous, thorough and caring. They are a credit to New Zealand.
We join with the family of the young girl in congratulating the police on having hopefully locked up the offender in this dreadful crime against a defenceless young girl. We hope that some of their faith in the goodness of New Zealanders has been restored after what has been a terrible ordeal for them.
But using the term "boy" to describe the alleged offender? Sorry; that sends entirely the wrong message. "Youth" would be acceptable (and we can think of plenty of stronger words, but the presumption of innocence applies), but describing him as a boy implies a naive, carefree youngster, which someone committing this kind of offence is anything but.