A 12-year-old girl claims she was stoned, kicked and asked to strangle herself in a racially motivated attack in Invercargill as others stood by and did nothing.
The girl said the incident happened in Rimu St, on the footpath outside Elizabeth Park, about 3.55pm on Sunday.
She and a fellow 12-year-old girl had just left the BMX track at the park when they were chased by a group of about 10 children aged between about five and 14.
“They thought we were calling them names and we had accused them of stealing our seats (at the track),” the girl said.
The group asked her to fight one of them, a 9-year-old girl. When she refused, a 10-year-old girl started punching and kicking her, the girl said.
“I was trying to walk away. I didn’t want to fight a 10-year-old. I knew (the rest of the group) would get into me if I started fighting her.”
Another girl then kicked her and she fell to the ground, the girl said.
“They started throwing stones at me and were forcing me to strangle myself when I was on the ground.”
The group also spoke to her friend and asked her if she was Maori, which she was, the girl said.
“They said she was safe and they were only picking on me because I wasn’t. They said ‘All you white New Zealanders came in and stole our land’.
“I told them it was nothing to do with me.”
A boy in the group also threatened to hit her in the head with a cricket bat, before hitting her in the back and on the ear.
“I thought I would go deaf from that.”
The attack stopped when two men came along and told the group off, the girl said.
But other people, both children and adults, watched the attack and did nothing.
She and her friend then ran to the friend’s home, where her friend’s mother called police.
The girl was taken to hospital for a doctor to check the bumps and bruises she suffered.
Her mother expressed outrage at the attack.
“The racism side of it is the worst thing, but also that no one in the street helped her,” the woman said.
Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said it appeared the main offenders were four children aged between 10 and 12.
The incident was a particularly unpleasant form of bullying.
Police would continue their inquiries, Mr Larking said.
He urged parents who knew their children were at the park on Sunday to contact police.