Three Hastings schoolboys rescued a 12-year-old girl by threatening to attack two men who were trying to drag her away.
"The other boys told them that if they didn't go away right now they would get a hiding," Hastings Boys' High School pupil Liam Mataira, 15, said yesterday, describing the rescue he had made with friends Ben Hayllar and Tama McKenzie.
"We just jumped in front and pulled her away. The men were over six feet tall. I was taller than them, but they were quite stocky.
"They just started swearing. They looked like they had been taking drugs – they were all twitchy and stuff.
"It happened fast. They could have retaliated and attacked us, but we had to do something to get that girl away before something happened."
The rescue took place in busy Karamu Rd on Wednesday morning, as the boys were on their way to school.
The girl was going to Hastings Intermediate and the boys escorted her there afterward, before continuing on to their own school.
"She was pretty shaken up; she was crying," Liam said.
Ben, also 15, said the men had used language indicating that they were affiliated to the Mongrel Mob, but he had not felt scared.
"They towered over me but I just felt an adrenaline thing. It all happened at once. I told them to go away and leave her alone."
It was strange that the incident had happened in such a public place, on the footpath of Karamu Rd, Ben said.
Yesterday, Hastings Intermediate put on a morning tea with pizza for the heroes, attended by the girl they had saved.
"She was all smiley and jumping up and down," Liam said.
Boys' High principal Robert Sturch said he would make a fuss of the boys at morning assembly today.
Sergeant Eden Sewell, of Hastings, said the boys had done the right thing.
"They did real well," he said. "It took a bit of courage on their part and prevented something a lot more serious from happening."
The police would make sure the boys received recognition for their bravery.
Two men were arrested after a similar incident in central Hastings yesterday involving a 17-year-old female.
A Hastings man, 28, appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday afternoon charged with indecent assault and another local man, 54, was being interviewed, Mr Sewell said.
- The Dominion Post