Police are searching for separate groups of offenders who carried out a pair of violent street robberies in Wellington last night.

A man in his twenties was walking from the waterfront near Te Papa into Barnett Street at about 11:15pm when he was allegedly robbed by five men in the first attack, police said.

Acting Detective Sergeant Sam Mercer said the man was initially approached by a teenager who asked him for a cigarette.

The offender was then joined by four other men who surrounded the victim before one punched him to the ground, he said.

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"In a cowardly attack, all five offenders then kicked and punched the victim while he was on the ground, robbing him of his puffer jacket, wallet, i-pod and passport."

Mr Mercer said the man who originally approached the victim was a caucasian with a green bandanna covering his face, while the person who punched him was a caucasian with dreadlocks.

Another man in his twenties was walking from Manners Street up Boulcott Street when he was knocked to the ground by two men and robbed in a second attack at about 11:20pm last night, police said.

Witnesses saw the man being assaulted and came to his aid.

The offenders were believed to have followed the victim from Manners St, Mr Mercer said.

"The two robberies were reported as occurring at the same time in different locations, and the offender descriptions differ. While we are keeping an open mind about the offenders, the crimes do not appear to be linked at this stage," he said.

He appealed for information from those who helped the victim or saw either of the offenders in the second attack.

They were described as two Caucasian men in their mid to late thirties. One had long straight blonde hair, while another wore black straight-brimmed baseball cap.

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- HERALD ONLINE