Police are hunting a man who yesterday robbed a central Hamilton credit union armed with a machete.

The man went into the Clerical Industrial Credit Union on the corner of Victoria and Liverpool Streets about 1pm, approached the counter and demanded money, while brandishing a machete, Detective Sergeant Daryl Smith said.

He fled with a small amount of cash the man down Liverpool St in the direction of the Waikato River, Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith praised bank staff for remaining calm.

"They did all we could ask of them, at the end of the day money can be replaced, whereas lives cannot."

Police have appealed for sightings of a Maori man, aged in his 20s or 30s, described as being of slim build and short to medium height, with a pointed chin.

He was wearing dark sunglasses, a black beanie and black nylon jacket, black trousers and beige to white shoes.

- NZPA