When Hiren and Pooja Shiroyo moved from Auckland to Dannevirke last year as the new owners of the Hi-Way Dairy, they were looking for a quiet, crime-free life.
But on Monday evening they were confronted with a man wielding a knife.
"We came here to get away from this and I was a little shaken at the time, but I'm okay now," Mrs Shiroyo told the Dannevirke News.
Police were called to the Hi-Way Dairy on High St at 5.45pm on Monday after the man robbed the premises at knife-point, getting away with a carton of cigarettes.
Senior Sergeant Nathan Davis of the Tararua Police sub-group said they are looking for a man of average height and large build. He was seen wearing a black hoodie and black pants, with a blue bandanna covering his face.
"The man entered the dairy by the back entrance and it appears he had been hanging around the back prior," Mr Davis said.
"He confronted the person behind the counter, produced the knife and demanded cigarettes. Once they'd been handed over he left."
Mr Davis said there is some CCTV security footage from cameras in Dannevirke's CBD, along with footage from inside the dairy.
"I'm really pleased the owners gave into his demands.
"This is a small, tight-knit community and within a couple of hours people were talking about the robbery on social media, offering support to the owners which was good. But what is the moral fibre of someone who does this?
"However, this is a busy little dairy and the owners are receiving lots of support."
Mrs Shiroyo said she and her husband were receiving plenty of support and help following the robbery, something they are very grateful for.
But for Mr Shiroyo, the robbery has dented his faith in Dannevirke a little bit.
"It's disappointing, but this happens everywhere now," he said.
A scene examination was carried out yesterday morning by the CIB, with a police photographer also involved.
Although no one was injured in the robbery, Suresh Patel, chairman of the Dannevirke Chamber of Commerce and a High St retailer, said an incident like this was tough on the owners and staff at the dairy.
"We read about this sort of thing happening elsewhere and the last thing we want is for this to happen in our own small town," he said. "This is one of those situations no one wants to confront.
"We haven't had an incident like this for a long time and let's hope our CCTV security cameras can help."
Mr Patel said since the installation of the extensive security camera system throughout Dannevirke's central business district there had been a large reduction in the crime rate.
- Anyone with information can phone the Dannevirke police station on 06 374 4500 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line: 0800 555 111.