The Kawerau father of a 12-year-old girl is wanting to thank a woman who helped to stop a group of youngsters beating his daughter.
The father, who wants to remain anonymous to protect the identity of his daughter, said he received a distressed call from her about 1.30pm on Monday.
"She'd gone into town with a friend to get lunch," the man said. "They were sitting outside one of the eateries in Kawerau when a group of 11 and 12-year-olds approached them."
He said neither his daughter or her friend know people from the group.
"One of the girls made the comment she had the same shoes as her and accused her of copying."
In her defence, the 12-year-old denied she had copied anyone. In response to increased aggression from the leader of the group, the 12-year-old told her to "shut up".
As a result she was punched in the face and also kicked.
Her father said she suffered a black eye, a large bump on her forehead, bruising to numerous parts of her body and scratches to her ear and knee.
"A lady who was in the eatery came out and broke up the fight. She also stayed with my daughter while she phoned me and waited with her until I arrived," he said.
"I don't know who she is but I can't thank her enough for what she did for my daughter. It's great to know there are people in our community who are prepared to step in when needed and also provide a shoulder."
Kawerau Senior Sergeant Mark van der Kley said both the victim and the alleged offender had been spoken to following the incident. "Because of the ages of the girls I would think it would be a matter for our youth aid officers," Mr van der Kley said.
The incident has created a stir on Facebook with Stand Up Kawerau, a page promoting all the good things in the mill town, highlighting a number of initiatives that are currently in place to help and mentor young people.