Hawke's Bay police are hunting for a man they say savagely attacked a 12-year-old boy in the Napier suburb of Taradale.
Acting Sergeant Andy Clinton said three boys were walking along the cycleway from Pettigrew Green Arena when one of the boys called out to the man, who took exception.
Mr Clinton said the man allegedly grabbed the boy by the throat, punched him and put him in a headlock, causing him to fall down a bank where the attack then continued.
The boy was taken to hospital for observation but has since been discharged.
Mr Clinton says the seemingly unprovoked attack is a savage and prolonged assault by a grown man on a boy barely able to defend himself.
The man is described as being 40 to 50 years old and wearing black pants and grey top. He was riding a white mountain bike with a large black rear mudguard.