An elderly woman is badly shaken after being robbed in broad daylight while walking in the Auckland suburb of Browns Bay.

The 77-year-old victim was walking on the right hand side of Beach Road at 11.15 yesterday morning when a male approached her demanding her handbag.

Detective Darren Attwood says when the victim refused, the offender presented a metal object and pointed it straight at her chest.

He says the object was covered in a black cloth but appeared to be a gun barrel.

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Detective Attwood says the offender ripped the bag from the woman's shoulder and ran across Beach Road and got into a waiting vehicle.

Police are looking for a male Caucasian, with olive skin, in his early 20s, who was wearing dark trousers, and a black hooded sweatshirt or jacket.

The car he got into was an older model 'brick red' flat deck ute, which had a wooden tray on the back and was covered in mud.

The woman is badly shaken but otherwise unharmed, and is receiving assistance from Victim Support.

additional reporting Newstalk ZB