The mother of a 14-year-old girl attacked by a gang of girls in Greymouth at the weekend blames Facebook bullying.
Police said the girl was thrown to the ground and kicked in the head and the body in the attack on Saturday.
The Greymouth High School student had been hassled at school last year, but the family thought that had been sorted out and she had not had any problems this year.
The victim's mother said today she believed Facebook was "99 per cent to blame'' for what she called an unprovoked attack.
The girl suffered two black eyes, a suspected broken nose and grazing and bruising to her face. Her friends, who were unable to stop the attack, picked her up and took her to the police station. She was treated by medical staff.
Greymouth High School principal Andy England said he was aware of the incident. "We cannot do too much about what happened, but if we discover the victim is being taunted through Facebook or texts during school time we will act on the matter.''
He said the school was vigilant and always tried to prevent bullying.
"If students are being text bullied or hounded through Facebook during school hours they need to tell us promptly so we can act ... including confiscating cellphones.''
Police said three girls aged 15 and 16, were to appear in the Youth Court today charged with injuring with intent.By Viv Logie of the Greymouth Star