Stranger's offer of ride to schoolgirls worries Whangarei police

By Christine Allen -
3 comments
Donnelle Maitland said her young daughters were approached by a stranger on Monday morning as they walked to their school bus. Photo / John Stone
Donnelle Maitland said her young daughters were approached by a stranger on Monday morning as they walked to their school bus. Photo / John Stone

Police are looking to speak to a man who terrified two adolescent girls in Onerahi as he allegedly drove beside them and beckoned them into his car while the pair walked to their bus stop on the way to school.

Donnelle Maitland said her young daughters were approached by a man in a light gold car on Ross St on Monday morning, while they walked to their school bus.

Described as tall and dark-skinned with a "big stomach", the man's car had the word "Aloha" on a bumper sticker on the boot.

Once safe on the bus, the eldest girl texted her mother that the man had driven up behind them.

"He pulled up ... slowed down and kept asking them if they wanted a ride. He persisted but they kept saying no. He eventually drove off," Ms Maitland said.

"My youngest girl was so scared. He might have been a nice person but who offers young girls a ride?"

She wanted to warn parents to take care with children on their way to school. She reported the incident to the Whangarei Police, who are asking members of the public in the area at the time, who might have seen the silver or beige vehicle, to contact Whangarei Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Whangarei police school community officer, Senior Constable Ian Anderson, said the latest incident served as a timely reminder to parents to sit down with children and create a safety plan.

He said the Onerahi incident could be innocent, but it was unusual for a stranger to offer children a ride. It was also concerning that there was more than one person approaching children in Whangarei, he said.

"Kids aren't pre-programmed to know this stuff. Sit them down and tell them that these things are happening over the last few weeks. Ask them 'What would you do?' Make sure they know not to go with strangers and to make sure mum and dad know where they are at all times."

He said parents needed to make sure they had a plan in place if they could not collect them as arranged.

The latest alert comes after the attempted abduction of a 10-year-old boy from McClintock St on November 1. A man tried to force the student into the boot of his Honda after stopping in the middle of the street about 3pm.

There was an attempted abduction in Whangarei's McClintock St earlier this month. Photo / John Stone
There was an attempted abduction in Whangarei's McClintock St earlier this month. Photo / John Stone

The man grabbed the boy's backpack and tried to force him into the open boot. The youngster managed to escape with his two friends and hide in bushes before raising the alarm.

The man was described as European, with black/brown curly shoulder-length hair, wearing black jeans, a black hoodie, and with tattoos on his arms.

A police spokesman said inquiries into both incidents were ongoing but police had no evidence to suggest the Onerahi incident was linked to the McClintock St incident.

In October, Whangarei Primary School principal Martin Van Rijswijk said two students were riding scooters down Bank St when they were approached by a stranger in a white van who offered to drop them home. The children got into the van and were delivered home.

In the Auckland suburb of Ranui last Thursday, an 11-year-old boy was abducted and sexually assaulted. The boy had got off a train at Ranui Station and had walked towards Ranui Station Rd on his way home about 4pm.

Anyone with information about any of the Whangarei incidents can contact police on 09 4304500, or can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 05 Dec 2016 23:50:10 Processing Time: 55ms