A teenager in Palmerston North fended off an attacker who grabbed her from behind by kicking him in the shin with her heel, allowing herself to run free.

Police are investigating the incident which happened on Tremaine Avenue about 8.30am this morning.

A 17-year-old female, dressed in blue jeans and a grey jersey, was waiting for a friend near the intersection with Botanical Road when a vehicle, described as a navy blue station wagon with dirt on its wheels and sides, stopped nearby.

The male driver got out of the vehicle and walked a short distance to where the victim was standing.

Advertisement

Without warning, he grabbed her around the waist from behind and began pulling her backwards.

The victim responded by kicking him in the shin with her heel.

This caused him to release his grip and she fled.

The man and the vehicle he was travelling in are not known to the victim.

Detective Carl Newton said "it's difficult to know what the man's intentions were but nonetheless this behaviour is concerning".

The offender has been described as a male Maori with a roundish face.

He has a shaven head and was wearing a dark long-sleeved top and dark pants.

Police are seeking information from anyone who may have seen the navy blue station wagon, or the man described, on Tremaine Avenue near Lynwood Close around this time.

Any information can be provided to Detective Carl Newton on (06) 213 9578 or anonymously via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.