A Tauranga family still grappling with the death of their father has been struck another blow after thieves ransacked their home.
Karen Herbert and her children Kate, 13, and Scott, 10, had just returned home from a family trip on Monday afternoon when they discovered their house had been ransacked.
The burglary comes just six months after the children's father Jeff Herbert died of lung cancer.
Among the items stolen were wedding rings and Jeff's mother's eternity ring which were to be passed on to Kate for herself and to Scott for his future partner.
Although Mrs Herbert had been separated from her husband for three years, the two remained friends, she said.
The rings were particularly special as the couple had been together for 13 years and carried many memories with them, "so yeah, they are very sentimental," Mrs Herbert said.
"I hope we get them back."
Kate was the first to realise something was wrong when she saw damage to her bedroom window.
Mrs Herbert said while she thought that was strange, it wasn't until she walked into her own room and found her drawers emptied on her bed that she realised what had happened.
"My jewellery and things were also everywhere. We had a look around to see what was missing, they've taken funny stuff. They took my work laptop which was locked, but they left my tablet computer and video camera just lying there in my bedroom. They left my son's phone and Xbox but took a broken Playstation 2. They went through all my jewellery and took my rings, but left a gold chain bracelet. They also took a lot of Kate's costume jewellery and some of Scott's jerseys."
Mrs Herbert, Kate and Scott said the burglary had made them feel sick and unsafe. Scott had even begun hyperventilating after the discovery.
"The kids have been through so much in the last six months and to have somebody come through and do this is horrible."
Mrs Herbert said it was strange that sentimental things had been taken while other items of more value were left behind.
"It could have been worse but a lot of it was personal stuff which was going to be handed on to the children. The kids are just getting over the death of their dad."
In another blow, the family didn't have insurance as it was something their father had always taken care of.
Mrs Herbert said an insurance payout wouldn't have helped with the stolen rings anyway as the rings themselves were irreplaceable.