Two men - one armed with a firearm, the other with a screwdriver - robbed a Taupo restaurant last night.
Detective Senior Sergeant Todd Pearce said three staff were accosted at the back of the Mole and Chicken Restaurant on Taharepa Road by the two men, described as Polynesian or Maori.
Mr Pearce said staff were threatened with the firearm, believed to be a shotgun, and directed back inside the restaurant, where they were made to lie on the ground, while one of the offenders stole money from cash registers and personal items belonging to one staff member.
The pair escaped in a staff member's vehicle, a red 1993 Commodore utility.
While fortunately no one was hurt or injured during the robbery, Mr Pearce said all staff were extremely shaken and have been referred to Taupo Victim Support Services.
The men are described as Maori or Polynesian, about 170cm, and of solid to fat build.
One offender wore a dark coloured scarf on his face and the other a light or possibly white-coloured scarf. Both were wearing black hooded sweatshirts, and black pants, gloves and shoes.
Mr Pearce said detectives would today be carrying out a full scene examination, as well as interviewing the victims and neighbouring home owners.
"We are seeking help from the public to identify anyone who may fit the general description of the offenders or who knows who is responsible. People are also asked to keep an eye out for the stolen vehicle, but are warned not to approach it or the occupants, as the offenders are considered dangerous and could still be armed," he said.
Anyone with information on the incident should contact Taupo Police 07 378 6060 or anonymously through Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.