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Christchurch police are hunting a machete-wielding robber who threatened a dairy owner and stole cash and cigarettes last night.

The robbery took place about 8.15pm at the Poolside Dairy in Matipo St, Riccarton.

Police said the robber, described as a Polynesian man in his mid-twenties, presented a machete at the dairy owner and demanded cash and cigarettes.

He then fled in a stolen white Mitsubishi station wagon, which was abandoned a short while later in the covered carpark at Riccarton Mall.

Constable Heather Gluyas, of Hornby police, said two men were seen to leave vehicle, one brandishing a machete, with which he confronted a member of the public.

Police want to speak to the man who was threatened, and anyone else who saw the men.

The robber was said to be of slim build, about 1.74m tall.

Ms Gluyas can be contacted on (03) 344 1802.