The theft of a box of handmade daffodils to be sold as a fundraiser for the Cancer Society has been described as the "lowest of low".
The 45 crocheted daffodils were on sale at Third Place Cafe as part of the society's annual Daffodil Day fundraiser when the box was taken over the weekend.
Cancer Society's Tracey Crompton said the news had left many people gutted.
"It is really, gutwrenchingly disappointing."
The daffodils were handmade by a volunteer, and took about 30 minutes each to make. They are sold for $5 each.
"This has a ripple effect. Not only for [the staff of Third Place Cafe] but it also affects us and the volunteers."
Ms Crompton said she could "just hear it" in the voice of Third Place Cafe owner Fiona Withers when she rang.
"Obviously she was absolutely devastated. I could tell by her voice, she didn't even have to say it."
Ms Crompton said the frustrating part was all the money raised went back into the Rotorua community.
"You are stealing from your own community."
She said with one in three New Zealanders affected by cancer, it was likely whoever took the daffodils knew someone who had cancer.
"It is the lowest of low."
She couldn't work out why someone would steal the daffodils, and wanted to make the public aware of the theft in case anyone tried going door to door selling them.
"The volunteers work hard for that money."
Ms Crompton said she hadn't yet broken the news to Kath Tappin, the volunteer who crocheted the daffodils, as she was overseas.
"I want her to enjoy her holiday."
Ms Crompton said with the annual fundraiser Daffodil Day coming up, it had put a "sting in the tail".
Ms Withers said the box which had about $25 cash in and the 45 daffodils had been taken from the cafe sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
"It's pretty low. I actually find it a bit bizarre."
She said they were really disappointed as they were trying to support a good organisation.
Cancer Society Waikato/Bay of Plenty communications manager Maria Low said they had not yet reported the incident to the police but were considering doing so.
"To be honest theft of fundraising resources is something we haven't had to deal with before. It's a real shame this has happened and it's left us with heavy hearts, but it is important to reiterate that other than this isolated incident the Rotorua community has always been wonderful and thoroughly supportive of the Cancer Society."