Police are investigating after a man tried to grab a child's hand while they walked to school with their parent.

Favona Primary School, in Māngere, alerted parents and the wider school community of the incident this morning.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tom Gollan said: "Counties Manukau Police received a report this morning of an incident where an unknown man has grabbed a child's hand, while the child was walking to school with their parent."

Gollan said the incident was reported to have taken place on Hall Avenue, Favona about 9.15am.

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"The man then fled the scene on foot. He was not located however police are making follow up enquiries into this matter."

The child was not harmed and police have spoken with their parent as well as the school concerned, Gollan said.

A message on the Favona Primary School Facebook page read: "We have just been told of an attempted abduction of a young child on their way to school with a parent in the area.

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"We want to do everything we can to keep your children safe, so please pick your children up and drop them off, if possible."

The school told parents that any children waiting to be picked up at the end of the day will have to wait inside the school grounds - for their own safety.

"Thanks for your help with this and please let other parents know about the need for safety around drop-offs and pick ups."

The school principal would not comment to the Herald when approached.

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A parent who asked for a description of the person involved in the alleged abduction was told by the school: "A man in a hoodie, aged under 30, average height."

The parent was told that more information was being sought from police.

Anyone who saw this incident is being asked to contact Counties Manukau Police on 09 261 1321 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.