Arataki School is the latest local school to warn parents about suspicious strangers after being alerted to one of their students being followed by an unknown man.

The school issued a warning to parents this week after the principal was informed that a student was chased by an unknown man as he headed home from school.

It is the latest in a series of similar incidents around the city police are investigating.

Principal Shelley Blakey told the Bay of Plenty Times that the alleged incident happened between 2.45pm and 3pm on August 27.


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However, Blakey said without parental permission she was not prepared to disclose further details.

"I prepare not to reveal too much detail at this stage, but we're treating the matter seriously and are working with police," she said.

Blakey said police were making regular patrols around the school before and after it finished for the day, and extra staff would be on duty around the surrounding streets.

All efforts were being made by the school to keep the children safe, and teachers also had "age-appropriate" safety-related discussions with the students in their classrooms to remind them what to do if something similar occurred..

Arataki School's warning comes after five similar incidents since July 5 involving a suspicious man approaching schoolchildren in the Otumoetai and Matua areas.

Two incidents happened in the Matua saltmarsh, one in Pillans Point, plus two separate incidents at Ferguson Park and Little John Drive.

Police earlier confirmed they were treating these cases as linked, but believed an incident involving a Greerton Village School student could be unrelated.

The Bay of Plenty Times has also learned an 8-year-old Te Puna Primary student has told police that while biking to school on July 3 he was followed by two men.


The boy's mother said two men followed her son down a long driveway in Lochhead Rd as he tried to evade them.

Her son described the suspect vehicle as a dark-grey people-mover believed to be an Odyssey with blacked-out registration plates.

"Even one incident of this nature is one too many," the Te Puna mother said.

In a written response, Detective Sergeant Alan Kingsbury said police were aware of the Arataki School and Te Puna Primary incidents which were being investigated.

"At this stage there is no evidence to suggest the two are linked.

"We understand that these types of incidents can cause concern for parents, but our message to the community remains the same – be alert, not alarmed.

"We actively encourage people to tell children and young adults to report anything that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable [to someone] such as a trusted adult, teacher or the police."