A teenage girl is “traumatised” after being harassed and threatened by a group of older girls at a North Shore bus stop.
Kirsty Guy told Newshub her 14-year-old daughter was ganged up on by a group of teenagers at the Hibiscus Coast Bus Station on the morning of January 25.
Guy said the older girls told her daughter they would attack her if she didn’t hand over her brand new Nike Air Force 1 shoes.
She said it’s not unusual for her daughter, who didn’t want to be named, to catch the bus by herself but this time was different.
“I got a call from her and she was totally incoherent, I couldn’t understand a word she was saying,” Guy said.
“Three of them were threatening that if she didn’t hand them [the shoes] over they would get her on the ground and stomp her head into the footpath.”
She said her daughter worked really hard to save up for the shoes and refused to hand them over but thankfully moments later a bus turned up and the group of girls got on it.
Her daughter is traumatised by the confrontation and was too scared to leave the house for weeks afterwards and it’s put her off her brand new shoes as well, Guy said.
“She’s now starting to go out, but she wouldn’t go out at all for a couple of weeks unless she was with me. She said she’d never wear those shoes again. Her whole sense of security was completely shattered and it shouldn’t be at that age.”
Even a few weeks after the confrontation, Guy is still livid and said children should be able to catch the bus safely in this country and is worried it’s only going to get worse unless something is done.
“If that’s what we accept now, then how do we know that we don’t end up like South Africa in 20 years’ time? To me, if it’s not stopped or we don’t do what we can to stop it now, it will go downhill from here,” she said.
Youth crime was in the headlines a lot in 2022 when teenagers and young people were arrested for a range of criminal activities like burglaries, ram-raids and threatening other kids.
The most high-profile story came in October when a group of young girls viciously kicked and attacked a group of three younger girls in the Pukekohe town centre.
Guy said she doesn’t have the answers to the ongoing issue but said raising awareness is a good start.
“I’d never heard of it before, I had no idea that this sort of thing was happening … and I also think it’s really important for them to report it,” she said.
Police told Newshub they are investigating the confrontation. But Guy said parents need to know this wasn’t an isolated event. She said she posted about it on Facebook and was bombarded by messages from other parents in the area whose children had similar experiences.
“They’ve had groups try to bully them into getting them to buy drugs at the bus station.”
Whangaparāoa MP and National police spokesperson Mark Mitchell said the confrontation is the result of the Government’s “soft on crime” approach.
Mitchell said children in New Zealand should be able to use a bus station or visit a mall without risk of being assaulted, verbally abused or robbed.
“New Zealand should be one of the safest countries in the world. Instead, we are becoming a country where parents are afraid when their kids are out and about,” he told Newshub.
“It is incredibly sad that we have gone backwards so quickly in the last five years with rapid increases in adult and youth gang numbers, serious violent crime and a tsunami of violent retail crime.”
Mitchell also agreed the confrontation wasn’t isolated and the Government needs to hold young offenders accountable for their actions.
Newshub contacted Police Minister Stuart Nash for a response to Mitchell’s comments and about the confrontation but said he wouldn’t be commenting as it’s an operational matter for police.
Auckland Transport (AT) told Newshub safety is their top priority and their facilities – including the Hibiscus Coast Bus Station – are designed to keep people safe with good lighting, CCTV and sight lines.
“AT has extensive coverage through CCTV across all our main facilities, which assists us in capturing images of incidents that we can quickly share with police for follow-up action,” AT told Newshub.
Auckland Transport Operations Centre (ATOC) monitors locations to detect known offenders and they can mobilise security patrols in response to any issues or escalate to Police, AT said
“If school-aged children are involved in incidents and uniforms are recognised – further attempts are undertaken by AT to get school principals involved in follow-up action,” AT said.