A small Bay of Plenty community is reeling after a 71-year-old woman was brutally attacked in her home in the early hours of yesterday.
The woman, pictured, is in a serious but stable condition in hospital after the cowardly 1am attack in Kawerau.
It is believed the woman opened her door to a man, after mistaking him for a male relative she was expecting to arrive late from overseas.
Kawerau mayor Malcolm Campbell said the town would be in shock.
"It is unusual for something like this to happen in a small community," he said.
Detective Constable Ash Clements of Whakatane police said the man demanded cash before attacking the woman, leaving her covered in blood on the floor of her home. He then stole her car. No cash was taken.
"This is a reminder of the need for us to be careful when answering the door," he said. "Police don't want to see a repeat of this type of attack. We encourage anyone in the local community with information to contact us immediately, no matter how unimportant it may seem."