A Hastings woman managing a small loans business feared for the life of her 10-month-old baby as two robbers locked themselves in her office and threatened to "knock you out".
Rangitutu (Nan) Tawera was at her family-run business on Matai St with her baby girl and three other children, while the rest of the whanau was at a funeral, when one of the offenders began lurking on the property about 8.15am on Wednesday.
"One of them turned up early and I said: 'We're not open until 9am'," Ms Tawera told Hawke's Bay Today when recalling the incident yesterday.
She said the assailant replied: "It's okay, I'm just waiting for someone - I'll be back."
Later at 8.45am, "He came back and walked right in and carried on past the desk, yelling 'Where's the money? Money, I know there's money here.'
"When he said that, another guy walked in and shut the door."
As the demands for cash grew increasingly agitated, Ms Tawera began to fear for her 10-month-old daughter, who was also in the office and began to cry, while three other children were in a nearby room.
"There's people going to be here soon. I've got kids, there's no need to be doing this," Ms Tawera told the two intruders.
"Then I tried to get to my girl when one of them said 'shut the f*** up b**** or I'll knock you out'." The men, described as Maori, one wearing a black hoodie and black shorts with a lizard or dragon tattoo on his neck and another on his lower left leg, began ransacking the office looking for more cash.
Ms Tawera was then forced against her desk and "patted down" as the culprits, one wearing a grey hoodie, searched for her wallet, eventually finding $180.
Fleeing the office, the two men were chased by Ms Tawera, who wanted to "see if they had a getaway car", but the robbers ran through a nearby alleyway.
A shaken Ms Tawera, worried the men would return, phoned her mum who was making paua fritters at a family tangi.
"I just dropped the paua," Ruth Tawera said.
"I just knew, you know how you can tell through your kid's voice that something is not right."
Ruth and the police arrived shortly after to console Ms Tawera, who was thankful none of the children were harmed.
Police said yesterday they were still hunting the two offenders responsible for the robbery and urged anyone with information to come forward.
*Anyone with information is asked to phone Hastings police on 06 873 0500. Information can also be provided anonymously by phoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.