The mother of teenage girl punched in the face by a stranger at a West Auckland petrol station during a road-rage incident has criticised police for their delay in investigating the matter - despite her identifying the man via social media and a witness providing crucial details.
Kylie Tipene said she felt the attack on her 14-year-old daughter was not taken seriously and it took nine days for police to even take a statement.
Tipene said the initial response from police was not good enough and called on them to sharpen up their service.
The assault happened at about 2pm on May 22 in the forecourt of the BP station on Swanson Rd.
As Tipene pulled out of the BP she swung her car too wide, meaning an incoming van could not get around her.
She wound her window down to call out an apology to the driver.
"I just wanted to acknowledge I was in the wrong and say sorry, but he abused me saying 'you f**king b**ch , f**k you," she said.
"That's not cool, that's not how you speak to a woman - or anyone."
Shocked by the man's reaction, Tipene turned back into the BP station to confront him.
She approached the man and told him his reaction and language was unacceptable, particularly to a woman and in front of her child.
"I told him he had no right to speak to me like that and his language was disgusting and he said 'f**k off b**ch," she said.
The 14-year-old got out of the car and said to her mother "let's get out of here".
He allegedly swore at her too.
"She stood up for herself and her mum and she answered back saying 'don't speak to my mum like that'.
"Then he walked over and punched her straight in the face."
The girl fell to the ground but was not knocked out.
"She's barely 60kg, 5'1" and a child - she shouldn't have said anything to him, but he shouldn't have hit her," Tipene said.
Tipene dragged her daughter inside the BP, where a number of people were calling 111.
A staff member ushered the pair out the back of the shop where Tipene also spoke to police.
They waited out there for about 45 minutes but police did not show up.
"We just wanted to go home, have a cup of tea and calm down," Tipene said.
Tipene briefly spoke to an officer several times that night but none came to see her.
The next day she called the Henderson station asking for an update and says she was told there was "a big backlog" and her case was not a top priority.
Through a social media post about the incident Tipene was able to track down the alleged offender and passed his details straight to police.
A witness also contacted her and said she'd called 111 at the time and passed on the man's registration details.
Tipene says she made repeated calls to police and even visited the Henderson station - but they did not seem interested in her daughter's assault.
She admits she was asked to leave the station because she got upset and angry at staff - out of sheer frustration at not being taken seriously.
A senior officer then found her crying outside the station and took her back inside to speak to her properly about the assault.
Tipene said statements were finally taken on Friday last week - nine days after the incident.
She said the officer now assigned to her case who took the statements had been "amazing" and apologetic for the delay.
But she was still ropeable.
"I feel really let down … a grown man can hit my child in the face, we have his rego, we have his name, we have footage - but we were not a priority and that's what my issue is," she said.
"I wanted to do this right, I passed on everything to police - there's no excuse for how we were treated, it's disgusting.
"Yes my daughter mouthed off, but she is a child and he assaulted her, I just want him held accountable.
"I'm really frustrated, really upset.
"I know police have a high volume of crime … but we matter and I just want to feel valued, to know what happened to us is important."
Inspector Stefan Sagar assured police were not ignoring the complaint.
"Police treat any assault matter seriously, particularly assaults on a young person," he said.
"We appreciate that this incident would have been understandably distressing.
"Any report of this nature is concerning and followed up appropriately, though police must use our available resources to prioritise investigations where serious injuries are reported or where there is an immediate threat to a person's safety or wellbeing."
He said police could not simply go and arrest the man believed to be responsible.
Officers first needed to gather "sufficient evidence".
An investigation was underway and witnesses were being spoken to.
Sagar could not comment further.
A spokeswoman for BP said the company could not comment.
DID YOU SEE THIS ATTACK?
If you saw the attack at BP on Swanson Rd on May 22, contact the Henderson police on : 09 839 0600.