Hardworking owners of a soon-to-be-open authentic Thai restaurant in Waikanae Beach, north of Wellington, are dismayed after burglars targeted their business.
About $11,000 worth of tools and a sentimental antique safe were stolen in the burglary on Wednesday night.
Chris Wylde and Daeng Neuang-Keo have been working long hours to try and meet their September grand opening target for their new second restaurant called Tuk Tuk Waimea.
"I have never been hurt so hard emotionally," Daeng said.
"Because I'm Buddhist I let these sorts of things go and think they probably deserve it more than me but because we've put our heart and soul into this place, financially as well, it's difficult.
"We're also a family business so every cent counts.
"The support from the community has been great though and we've felt welcomed.
"The burglary hasn't put us off and will make us stronger."
Chris, who has a mechanical engineering background, has been working at the property, at 1 Waimea Rd, by the Waikanae Boating Club, since mid May after the couple bought the building which used to be a former restaurant and a vintage shop.
He said the loss of the safe, which they had bought from the vintage shop before it closed, had sentimental value.
"It had the name Sargood Son and Ewen on it.
"Sargood is actually a family name.
"It's my grandfather's mother's family who were importers and agents.
"At one stage, my grandfather's uncle, Sir Percy Sargood, owned all of Wanaka station and most of the Cromwell valley."
The safe had been placed outside to make way for renovations, especially new flooring.
"I didn't think anyone would steal because it was so heavy.
"The tools can be replaced but I might never see a safe with the family name on it again."
Various people have offered them tools to help with the renovations so they're hopeful of a September 8 opening, as long as there's no curve balls, and have added incentive as that's when Daeng turns 50.
Chris has been undertaken various work as he waits for Kāpiti Coast District Council consent.
"Most of the work is stuff that doesn't need consent or prepping before the tradespeople come in."
Daeng said opening the restuarant in Waikanae Beach, with views to the sea, would be her "dream come true".
"There's no Thai restaurant in Waikanae so we're filling in the gap too."
The couple have owned the popular Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen in Porirua for two years.
Before that they owned Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen in Pauatahanui for two and a half years after operating a food truck for a year.
In the beginning Daeng was cooking Thai food at home for friends who said she should open a restaurant.
"I started one night a week from home, back in 2016, and it got out of hand so we converted a milk delivery truck within 10 days."
They still have the food truck and it will be in operation outside their new premises, a few times a week, as a way of getting to know the locals before the restaurant opens.
The couple were looking forward to bringing "real authentic Thai food to the area", she said.
The stolen items included: Two Cuckoo rice cookers, Two 18V Makita gib screw guns, Makita 18V Sabre saw, Makita 18V pistol drill, Makita 240V compound saw, Makita charger unit, Makita cut out tool, Makita tool bag, two Paslode framing guns, Matebo low speed pistol drill, Bosch 125mm 240V grinder, set of panel beater hammers and dollies, sack barrow, box of CCTV cameras and recording unit, antique safe.
If you have any information about the burglary contact police.