The mother of a young Rotorua girl who was approached by two men in a white van said she was thankful her daughter knew what to do and didn't get in the vehicle.

Rotorua police released a statement seeking public help to identify the men after three girls reported two separate approaches on Monday.

The mother of one of the girls, who the Rotorua Daily Post has chosen not to name in order to protect her daughter's identity, said she had been hesitant about letting her daughter travel to and from school alone.

"She's never had that independence, she's always been picked up," she said.


Her daughter started at Rotorua Intermediate School earlier this year and now regularly bikes to and from school.

The 11-year-old was walking with a friend on Ford Rd on Monday afternoon about 3.30pm.

"I don't like her coming through Ford Block [Fordlands], but because she walks home with a friend she comes through that way," she said.

A white van pulled up beside them and men tried to entice the girls into the vehicle.

Police said in a similar incident a white van had pulled up alongside an 8-year-old girl walking home from school on Pukehangi Rd at 3.15pm.

When the mother arrived home from picking up her other children she expected to see her energetic daughter rushing to get her chores done so she could play.

3 Aug, 2017 4:45pm
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But when she saw the tears she knew something was wrong.

"I noticed that she was upset and questioned her right away," she said.

The young girl said she had been approached by men in a van.

"He tried to bribe them with money," the mum said.

"She said she was shocked and scared, and that she ran across the park and hid.

"I'm just glad she was old enough to understand. The next child may not be so lucky."

The mother said she had reminded her daughter about stranger danger a few weeks ago, when there were reports of another suspicious man.

The woman was quick to alert the school and would be driving her daughter to and from school until the men were caught.

She praised the response from police and said they had been in regular contact.

"They've been really good, keeping me up to date with things."

Rotorua police area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale said they had extra patrols around several schools in the area.

"Kids are pretty street smart. We are doing our best to try and identify the offenders."

Mr Nightingale said police were still keen to hear from anybody who might have had a similar approach.

"It's abhorrent behaviour."

The public are urged to provide any information to Constable Todd Scanlon at Rotorua police, 111 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.