A primary school principal says parents should consider whether to allow their children to walk to school alone after a man allegedly attacked a girl walking in Ngunguru.
Police said they were appealing for information after a 14-year-old girl reported a man grabbing her from behind as she walked on Ngunguru Rd, near the intersection of Munro Pl, about 8pm on Tuesday.
Ngunguru School principal Rick Sayer said he was distressed by the incident - the girl was a former pupil of the school - but urged parents not to panic. "Obviously it's a horrible thing to have happened. But I am a bit wary of creating hysteria," he said. "If [parents] had planned on their children walking to and from school, they obviously need to consider the health and safety of that."
Mr Sayer said yesterday he was meeting with his management team to consider how best to alert parents to the incident.
A woman who said she was the victim's sister posted on the Tutukaka Coast Facebook page warning residents of the alleged attack and asking them to keep an eye out.
"My little sister was walking home tonight along the main road through Ngunguru when a guy dressed in trackpants and a hoodie has come from behind and tried grabbing and attacking her," the woman wrote. She said her sister had suffered scratch marks on her face, waist and arms. She described the offender as "slightly chubby build, looked young around mid-20s, and was walking, not in a car".
Police said inquiries were ongoing. Anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour on Ngunguru Rd, between Waiatoi Rd and Munro Pl, between 7.30pm and 8.30pm could contact Detective Andy Glendinning on 09 430 4500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.