Staff at a Whangārei dairy were forced to flee their store after being confronted by a trio of young men armed with what appeared to be a shotgun.
The three youths approached staff at the Maunu Superette, on the corner of Maunu Rd and Porowini Ave, on Tuesday around 6.20pm.
A police spokesperson said the workers were able to flee to safety and successfully triggered the store's fog cannon as they escaped.
The trio made off with a stash of cigarettes taken from the superette's supply before making a getaway in a stolen Mazda Atenza parked nearby.
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The car was dumped shortly afterwards less than 4km away in Hedley Pl in Raumanga
"Staff at the superette were uninjured but highly traumatised," the spokesperson said.
Police are appealing to the public for sightings of the silver 2003 Mazda Atenza on the day of the robbery.
"Police are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen this silver Mazda Atenza in the Maunu area during the day of the robbery or anywhere between the Maunu Superette and Hedley Place after the robbery."
Anyone with information can anonymously phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or call 105 and quote file number 211130/3798.