A 12-year-old boy was subjected to a "savage and prolonged
attack" by a man who took exception to a comment from the
The Tauranga boy's holiday in Napier turned sour this week
after he called out "hi" to a man biking on a riverbank
cycleway who then confronted the lad before assaulting him.
The boy, and two of his mates, were walking near the cycleway
having returned from a swim in the river about 2.40pm on
The incident was described by Hawke's Bay police Acting
Sergeant Andy Clinton as "diabolical".
It appeared the cyclist, in his 40s or 50s and wearing black
pants and a grey top, took exception to what the youngster
called out to him.
The boys, who were all left shaken by what happened, were
asked by police in the wake of the assault what had been
Mr Clinton said the boys said they were just "clowning
around" and that the boy had yelled out "hi" to the man - and
that he appeared to take it the wrong way.
"But regardless of what might have been said these were just
kids being kids - this boy got a real hiding."
Mr Clinton said the young victim, who was later treated at
Hawke's Bay Hospital for superficial injuries and discharged,
told police the man approached him and grabbed him by the
"He then allegedly punched the victim and put him in a
headlock, and this caused him to fall down a stock bank."
Mr Clinton said the man then allegedly went down the bank
after the boy then chased the boy down the bank, reapplied
the headlock and kicked him in the back before making off.
The three boys ran to the nearby car park and raised the
The man rode off but about 30 minutes later returned to the
area and was seen by a member of the public who gave chase
but was unable to get to him as he cycled off in the
direction of a nearby sports park.
"This was a savage and prolonged attack by a grown man on a
boy barely able to defend himself," Mr Clinton said.
"It was a seemingly unprovoked and diabolical attack carried
out and in public in broad daylight - it could have been so
much worse for the poor young fella."
He said the boy was left "pretty shaken up".
The youngster had been holidaying from the Bay of Plenty and
been staying with his grandparents in Taradale.
Mr Clinton said the man had been riding a white mountain bike
with a large black rear mudguard and police wanted to hear
from anyone who may have seen him riding in the cycleway
area, or know his identity.
Police can be contacted on 06 837 0100 or by anonymously
contacting Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.