Police in Hamilton are hunting for an intruder who entered three properties within a 1km radius while people were home in what may have been sexually motivated crimes.
The incidents happened in the suburb of Hillcrest early on Sunday morning and police say it appears they are connected.
In the first, a woman asleep with her partner woke to find a man holding her hand. The man fled when she screamed.
About 20 minutes later, a man returning home was confronted by a man with a gun in his house and after a brief struggle, he ran off.
An hour later, a woman in the halls of residence at Waikato University woke to see a man bending over her friend, who was asleep in the room. When she challenged him, he threatened her with a firearm.
Detective Sergeant Kristine Clarke says the fact that the man has a firearm, is entering properties where there are people present and there are possible sexual overtones is very worrying.
Police say the description of the person who got into the properties intruder is similar in all cases.
He is described as Maori, with quite a long fringe, wearing a dark hooded top, with a mask or bandana covering his face. He was armed with what may have been a Glock pistol.
Residents are being warned to make sure their homes are secured at night.