Concerned West Auckland parents are going as far as enrolling their children in self-defence classes following a spate of attempted child abductions in the area.

A Kelston Primary School pupil was forcefully asked to get in a man's car while he was walking to school last week, one of at least five incidents in West Auckland since November.

Krissy and Steve Oliver - the long-time trainer of Kiwi MMA fighter Mark Hunt - run Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling classes.

Oliver MMA ran a series of free self-defence classes for kids at their gyms on the North Shore and in West Auckland last year, which received a "huge response" from parents.


"We got like 50 kids and people asking for more. Some kids started doing jiu-jitsu full time after that because their parents saw just how beneficial it was for their kid's safety," said Krissy.

The sessions teach kids what to do if a stranger approaches them or if they are being attacked - techniques such as grip breaks, dropping to the ground, kneeing shins and running to a safe place.

"Obviously you are never going to be completely happy and satisfied that your child can defend themselves against an adult but knowing that at least they've got an idea - even if it's just one little thing that buys them five seconds, it could be the difference between life and death for these little guys."

Krissy said there was a need for more classes in West Auckland following the growing number of stranger-danger incidents in the area.

"Parents are genuinely scared. We're normally so relaxed in New Zealand. You can walk home, walk up to the dairy or a friend's house but you just can't do that anymore."

Due to demand from parents, another series of free classes are set to begin in June at Oliver MMA's New Lynn facility.

Glen Eden resident Danielle Seep, 25, enrolled her 8-year-old sister Maia in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling classes at Oliver MMA in New Lynn, to teach her self-confidence and discipline.

The Titirangi Primary School student has been doing the classes for a year and a half now - and her family feel better knowing she has the skills to protect herself.


"A year and a half ago if someone were to approach her on the street she would not have had the confidence to know what to do. Whereas now, she has been taught how to defend herself and what steps to take if someone does approach her or grab hold of her," said Seep.

"We feel quite confident that she knows how to protect herself and safely get away, which is a huge relief."

At first, Maia's mum was nervous about her "little baby" fighting.

"But once [mum] saw what Maia was doing and what Maia was learning and the safety it was bringing her, it brought mum a lot of relief.

"It makes mum feel a lot more comfortable and relaxed as opposed to worrying a lot like she normally would," said Seep.

Maia's sister Tiana, 12, who attends Glen Eden Intermediate, has also done some self-defence classes.

The Olivers have six kids between them, three of whom live with them in Glen Eden along with their two nieces.

The couple's 8-year-old daughter attends Summerland Primary School, a short walk from the Ranui train station where an 11-year-old boy was abducted and sexually assaulted in a horrific four-hour ordeal last year.

"We've got small kids and there is nothing more important than their safety," said Krissy whose children and nieces are enrolled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Maia Degenkolbe trains with Olympic Wrestling Coach Karin Moradi at Oliver mixed martial arts (MMA) gym. Photo / Nick Reed
Maia Degenkolbe trains with Olympic Wrestling Coach Karin Moradi at Oliver mixed martial arts (MMA) gym. Photo / Nick Reed

Krissy said while she was confident that her own children could defend themselves, she felt a big responsibility to ensure other kids had the chance to learn what to do if approached by a stranger.

Oliver MMA also ran a series of self-defence classes at high schools including Hobsonville Point Secondary School however, Krissy said they would like to get involved at primary and intermediate schools.

"When it comes down to really little, vulnerable kids... we haven't had much response from the schools."

To enquire about or enrol your kids in self-defence classes, contact

'He can't be a child'

A young boy was forcefully asked to get in a man's car in West Auckland last week, the latest in a spate of stranger-danger incidents that have left parents on edge.

West Auckland mum Daphne Armstrong has changed her work hours following the attempted abduction in Kelston last Friday, to ensure she can walk her 8-year-old son to and from Kelston Primary School.

"It's really, really scary. I'm just lucky that my boss is really lenient on me... so I'm one of the lucky ones who can actually pick up their child and drop him off at the gate. Other parents don't get that luxury.

"He used to walk to school on his own. He would be able to go down to the park on his own, to the dairy on his own. Now, it's really sad because he can't do anything. He can't be a child."

Armstrong said she had talked to her son about stranger danger so he knows what to do if something does happen, but still found the situation very nerve-racking.

"You find yourself double looking at everybody. If I see a stranger in the school I'm very conscious of where they are and what they're doing."

In the latest incident, a Kelston Primary School pupil was approached by a man in a car as he walked to school along Archibald Rd.

Police were unavailable to comment on the matter however were treating the incident as suspicious last week.

This follows a series of similar reports outside schools in West Auckland in the past few months.

An 11-year-old boy was left too traumatised to speak after he was reportedly abducted and sexually assaulted in Ranui on November 17. Police are still investigating the matter and enquiries are ongoing.

Just a week later an 11-year-old girl reportedly fled a man driving a dark red or maroon four-wheel drive while she waited for a school bus on Wairere Rd, Waitakere.

The next day, a man asked two 12-year-old boys walking home from school to get in his dark-coloured ute on Swanson Rd in Ranui.

A 9-year-old girl from St Dominic's School in Blockhouse Bay was offered $100 by a stranger to hop in their car last month.

There have also been reports of attempted abductions across the city in St Heliers, where a man tried to grab an 11-year-old girl in February, and in Northcote on the North Shore where a girl was approached by a man in a white van in March.