A worker at the Whangarei phone store where a woman was fatally shot by police last week says the woman sent a text saying "pay up or you'll be dead".
Drug addict Lee Jane Mettam, 37, was shot dead by police last Thursday after allegedly robbing the Vodafone store, and taking a 29-year-old shop assistant hostage.
Sales consultant Dean Harrison said Ms Mettam was looking for him when she entered the shop armed with an air rifle.
Mr Harrison's family knew Ms Mettam before she became addicted to methamphetamine, and had lent her $100, he told NewstalkZB.
However, she eventually demanded $5000, and sent a text message reading "pay up or you'll be dead".
Mr Harrison said he was so concerned for the safety of his family he decided not to go into work the next day.
He then got a call from a colleague saying that Ms Mettam was holding a staff member hostage with a gun.
Ms Mettam was gunned down when she opened the store door and pointed her gun, which turned out to be an air rifle, at a police officer taking cover across the street.
Separate inquiries are continuing by police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority in the first fatal shooting of a woman by police in New Zealand.