An elderly Kawerau woman is in a serious but stable condition in hospital after enduring a ''cowardly, callous attack''.
Police are appealing for information after the 71-year-old woman was attacked in her own home in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Detective Constable Ash Clements, of Whakatane Police, said the lady had opened the door to her house at about 1am, having mistaken a man outside her property for a male relative that she had been expecting to arrive from overseas.
Clements said that the stranger demanded cash, before assaulting the woman and leaving her covered in blood on the floor of her home.
No cash was taken and the man fled in the woman's car.
"This was a cowardly, callous attack on a defenceless elderly woman, and is a reminder of the need for all of to be careful when answering the door, even if we are expecting someone,'' he said.
"Police don't want to see a repeat of this type of attack and encourage anyone in the local community with information that may help us to catch this offender to contact us immediately, no matter how unimportant it may seem.
"We'd particularly like to hear from anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the River Road area at about 1am today."
Clements said the stolen vehicle had since been recovered and Kawerau police and CIB staff were currently completing forensic investigations.
- Anyone with information is asked to call Kawerau Police on 07 323 1400 or Whakatane Police on 07 308 5255. Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers, 0800 111 555.