Wheelchair user Jasmine Fraser's only transport was stolen from outside her home in Kamo in the early hours of Monday.
Now she has no way of getting around, relying on a walker to get around her house and unable to go any further.
Fraser's wheelchair was taken some time after midnight on Sunday when she went to bed.
"I was just shocked. At first I thought it was one of my siblings playing with me," she said.
"I use a walker only inside the house and that's it. I can't really go anywhere."
Fraser, who has cerebral palsy, has been using the same chair since she started high school. She is now 21.
She has a manual wheelchair for emergencies, but she tires easily and can't use it for long.
Cerebral palsy impairs motor function and movement, and can affect arms, legs and the entire body.
Fraser left the wheelchair to charge overnight in the driveway just outside the door, as usual.
She reported the theft to police, who she said were investigating. Whangarei police confirmed the electric wheelchair was reported stolen.
"They just told me they would keep an eye out," Fraser said.
She had no idea why anyone would want to steal the wheelchair: "They have no use for it."
Disability advocate Jonny Wilkinson said although the wheelchairs could cost a lot, they were customised for individual users and there was no way thieves could sell them.
"They're worth a lot of money but only to people who need them.
"I imagine it would be purely a vindictive crime or a younger person doing it as a joke.
"Maybe in the hours of daylight they won't find it so funny."
Wilkinson said it would be very disruptive to lose an electric wheelchair.
"Basically it's taking away their freedom to move around how they wish and usually wheelchairs are very personalised.
"It takes away users' independence and it takes a while to replace."
Fraser said she doesn't know what will happen next or whether she is able to get a replacement wheelchair.
"I'm getting everyone to see," she said. She was unsure if insurance would cover it, or if it would be possible to get funding for a replacement.
Fraser has received an outpouring of support on social media after posting about the missing wheelchair. The post has been shared nearly 500 times.
Wilkinson said it was uncommon for wheelchairs to be stolen.
"You wouldn't be able to sell them on the black market."
The only other case he heard of recently was in the Bay of Islands last year, when Paralympian sailor Chris Sharp's wheelchair was taken. It was later returned to a Northland police station.
Fraser had just one message for the thieves: "Give it back".
Anyone with information can contact Whangārei Police Station on (09) 430 4500 or the Northern Advocate on (09) 470 2875.