Two events of strangers approaching children on their way to school in the Waikanae area have caused police to investigate, but police believe they are unrelated incidents.
"Police are aware of two occasions in the Kapiti-Mana area where children at two local primary schools have been approached by a person in a vehicle," a police spokesperson said.
The first incident occured on May 26 when a masked man tried to abduct a child biking to Kapakapanui School in Waikanae.
Principal Craig Vidulich said the incident happened at about 8.15-8.20am when one of the students was riding their bike to school along Park Ave towards Ngarara Rd.
"They were approached by someone wearing black skin pants, black shoes, grey/white sweatshirt.
"His head was covered with a mask/hood with red nose and two small eyes.
"This person asked the child to come to him, which they didn't.
"He then proceeded to followed the child and tried to grab the child's bag whilst they were riding their bike.
"The child rode further and spoke to a lady who advised them to carry on to school.
"The child came into the office and we have since notified the police."
A second incident occurred a week later on June 1 while two young female students were walking to Waikanae Primary School along Winara Ave.
They were approached by a man in a car who gestured for the girls to hop into his car.
Waikanae Primary School principal Bevan Campbell said both students refused to do so and ran together to school.
Both students were unharmed and arrived safely at school, telling their mothers about the event when they got home after 3pm.
The families promptly called the police, who interviewed the girls.
"The school was informed of these events and will be working in conjunction with the police," Bevan said.
"We will be following their directives in terms of communications and the provision of any supporting information.
"Our advice at this stage is to be mindful of your children's safety while walking to and from school.
"Please keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour as other schools on the Kāpiti Coast have experienced similar events."
A combined statement from the schools and community constable Brett Polglase said it appears the events are unrelated but are taking the issue seriously and continuing to investigate both events.
There will be extra police patrols around both schools over the coming days and teachers at both schools will talk to students in an age appropriate manner about how to stay safe.
"Local staff have been in contact with the schools to provide some safety advice for their students," a police spokesperson said.
"There will be increased police patrols around these schools as a preventative measure and enquiries are being made to identify the vehicle and person.
"Police will be making further inquiries into the incident and we ask that anyone with information to contact us on 105."
Police advice to the community:
- Children should walk/scooter/bike to and from school with a friend or in a group if possible
- Please ensure that you have an agreed meeting place if picking up your child and that your child understands these arrangements
- Please ensure that your child keeps to the agreed route to and from school and doesn't take shortcuts
- Please tell your child never to accept rides from people that are not arranged or approved by you
- Ask your children to tell their teachers if something unusual happens on their way to and from school