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Sergeant Peter Knight said the 29-year-old was assaulted on a walking track between Delamore Drive and Owhanake Bay, near Oneroa, yesterday afternoon.
"It's a reasonably used track but it's not the busiest on the island."
Mr Knight said the woman managed to escape and get help from builders working nearby.
They called police who allege they found the accused at the other end of the track shortly afterwards.
Mr Knight said the woman had planned to stay on Waiheke for a night or two but had gone back to the mainland following the incident.
"She's pretty shaken up, obviously."
Cane Norton Kelland, 17, appeared in Auckland District Court this afternoon charged with injuring with intent and sexually violation.
Public defender Jo Scott said Kelland had "low intellectual ability" and had been living with a foster mother on Waiheke Island.
Judge Eddie Paul said there was a "concerning" email to the court from Child, Youth and Family, which recommended Kelland not be kept in custody with adult prisoners.
Judge Paul made the recommendation that Kelland be kept separate from adult prisoners and also be considered for the special needs custody unit.
Ms Scott made no application for bail but said the matter may be brought before the court if an appropriate bail address could be found.
Kelland was remanded in custody until next month.
- Matthew Theunissen and Kieran Campbell of APNZ