Police hunting for an assailant who stabbed an elderly man in the chest in his Southland home on Saturday night have released a description of the offender.

The man in his 70s was rushed to Southland Hospital in a critical condition after the attack but is now stable.

He was stabbed after the offender entered his Main St, Mataura flat and demanded money.

Detective Sergeant Greg Baird of the Invercargill CIB said police investigating the stabbing were appealing for information from anyone who was in the vicinity of Main St between around 9.30pm and 10pm on Saturday.

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The offender is described as unshaven, about 5 foot 10 in height, and wearing a grey hoodie and dark pants.

"We're keeping an open mind as to where the offender may have come from, and where he may have gone afterwards, so any information will be welcomed by the investigation team."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Invercargill station on (03) 211 0400, or their local police station.Alternatively, information can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.