Police in Christchurch are hunting for a man who allegedly attempted to abduct two school boys this afternoon.

The man approached the pair, aged 11 and 12, while they were standing at a bus stop near the corner of Riccarton Rd and Hansons Lane, just after 3pm today.

Detective Andrew Henderson said they were yet to interview the boys extensively, as authorities were treating the matter delicately, given their age.

Mr Henderson said the man had parked his vehicle - a silver Toyota Estima van - at the Countdown shopping centre nearby. He approached the children and at least one of them was physically handled, Mr Henderson said.

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They managed to get away and raised the alarm.

The boys described the man as having long, grey hair. They guessed he was aged in his 60s.

***Anyone with information is urged to call Police: (03) 363 7962 or 111.