Key Points:

A Hamilton office worker who stole $270,000 from her employers used the money to build a family home and a children's playhouse.

Julia Catherine Davis, 40, was jailed for three years after admitting stealing the money from a small family-owned business, the Waikato Times reported.

Davis had earlier pleaded guilty in Hamilton District Court to three representative charges of theft as a servant and two representative charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.

The court had heard that Davis was employed as an office administrator, and later office manager, by Hamilton-based company Sealcoat Central Limited, from June 2000 to October 2005.

The company, which supplied road safety signs and equipment to councils, at the time was owned and operated by husband and wife Pat and Karen Gallagher. Over five years Davis stole $277,826.99 from the Gallaghers and collected more than $14,000 in overpaid wages.

Davis used the stolen money to buy materials for her new family home and bought a cubby house for her children.

Ms Foster said Davis had yet to apologise to the Gallaghers and a pre-sentence report indicated a lack of remorse or empathy for her victims.

Defence counsel Kit Clews said Davis' conviction had caused her guilt, shame and depression, and noted a "goodwill payment" of $87,991.80 to the Gallaghers.

Pat Gallagher, who sold the business in March, told the newspaper he was pleased with the prison sentence and would pursue a civil case against Davis to try to recoup more money.

- NZPA