Thieves have helped themselves to thousands of dollars of stock from two businesses in the Rotorua CBD.
During the early hours of Friday, November 20, thieves stole stock, merchandise, televisions and computer equipment from Digital Natives Academy and shoes from Te Pālace on Hinemoa St.
Digital Natives Academy (DNA) is a charitable trust which, since 2014, has helped tamariki and rangatahi by giving them free access to the skills and tools needed to become makers, creators and developers of technology and not just users and consumers of it.
"It's devastating to see the damage and feel the loss," one of DNA's founders, Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule, said.
"Everything we do, we do for the children of Rotorua and to see a place that is theirs brutalised like this breaks my heart.
"When I got the call that morning, I immediately went to look at our CCTV footage . . . thankfully all the footage is saved in the cloud so within five minutes we had images of at least one of the thieves and were able to come up with a timeline."
She said, as well as reporting the crime to police, "the power of social media" was the best tool they had so have shared the footage as far and wide as possible.
"The police came to collect evidence and have seen the footage.
But we will rebuild and we'll be stronger for this experience, new security is already being put in place and we'll do what it takes to hold on to our dream. No thief, who relies on destroying others can ever take that away from us.
"When we founded DNA we knew there was a need, few of the tamariki or rangatahi we worked with had access to computers at home.
"Even less saw opportunities for themselves actually working in digital tech. So our goal was to illuminate these pathways and show our children that they had the power to dream."
Since 2014, DNA has also become "a sanctuary from an often cold, uncaring world where the outliers of society can find whānau, friendship and most importantly a sense of belonging".
"But, we still have work to do, so we'll do what we always do, dust ourselves off and get back to work, providing digital training for our tamariki and rangatahi and inspiring others to reach for their dreams and to never give up, even when those around you try to tear you down.
"It's been especially hard to see our neighbour Te Pālace get hit too. We always celebrate the launch of new Māori businesses and this was a unique shop to the region."
Te Pālace, a boutique for rare sneakers, recently opened and is owned and operated by local businessman Tony James.
"When I first heard that our shop had been hit and saw what was taken, I was shocked," James said.
"We had worked so damn hard to bring new and unique products to Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty because we wanted to celebrate urban culture, fashion, hip-hop, graffiti art, street dance and bring our own Te Arawa culture to the market."
He said while it was upsetting to be burgled, he was relieved and thankful nobody was harmed.
"Yes they entered our premises illegally and knew what they were doing, but it was when they robbed our tamariki at DNA and got caught on camera when we knew in our hearts that our opening karakia worked and that our tupuna would help us.
"A blow like this happens in many businesses and the timing has been bad for us with Christmas fast approaching and Covid-19 all around.
"But we will rebuild and we'll be stronger for this experience, new security is already being put in place and we'll do what it takes to hold on to our dream.
"No thief who relies on destroying others can ever take that away from us."
A police media spokeswoman said a burglary at a commercial premises on Hinemoa St was reported about 7am on Friday.
Police have completed an initial forensic assessment, and are assessing information available to them, she said.
Anyone who can identify the alleged culprit or provide information on the incident can contact the police on 105, quote file number 201120/3866.