Burglars have ransacked a rural home near Whanganui, leaving a woman and her five children so traumatised they can't sleep in their beds.

Azaria Timmins and her children have been sleeping in the lounge of their Waipapa Rd home at Kakatahi since the burglary on Wednesday. It happened while Timmins was on her weekly shopping visit to Whanganui. It is one of several recent break-ins in the area.

Timmins said she left her property about 10.30am on Wednesday and returned home just before 4.30pm.

"When we got back the gate was open and the door was open. Normally I keep the gate locked but it was unlocked that day because my neighbour was bringing my sheep back.

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"I went inside and the TVs from the lounge and bedroom were gone and they had been through everything - the beds, containers and boxes.

"They had been in my bedroom and went through my clothes and drawers. My beds were made but they had pulled back the bedding and dirty, muddy boots had walked over my bed. I didn't want to move things until the police had been and the kids are so upset they won't sleep in their own bedrooms so we've been sleeping in the lounge. They don't even want to have a bath.

"I've been saying to them that we will try to have a better week next week and get back to normal."

The burglars also stole a van that Timmins' partner was fixing for a neighbour.

"We passed that van on our way back from town and I thought it was strange that our neighbour would have picked it up without saying anything first," Timmins said.

"After we got home, I realised it couldn't have been him driving it. The van didn't have enough petrol in it to get into town so they must have brought their own petrol because they didn't take ours.

"They took all my partner's hunting and fishing gear, head torches and Dolphin torches.

"They had tried to grab the mig welders and brush cutters in the shed but had put them back down. It makes me wonder if they're going to come back and if they're doing this during the day then they might hurt people if they're home."

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Timmins said she was so upset she was vomiting on the day of the burglary and has since been crying and had little sleep.

"I just feel sick, knowing that people have been through our home. I've been working as a cleaner since my youngest daughter was 8 weeks old to make ends meet and I can't afford this. I've got no insurance.

"You're just trying to live your life and bastards like that come around."

The neighbour whose van was stolen had been burgled a few weeks ago and a nearby woolshed was broken into the same day, Timmins said.

"Hopefully someone will hear people boasting about what they did on Wednesday and the police will be able to find them," Timmins said.