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A home invasion at a rural Manawatu property turned violent when a woman couldn't comply with her attackers' demands this morning.
She suffered injuries to her upper body from trying to protect herself, while one of the attackers left after receiving a stomach wound from a pair of scissors.
Police said the 45-year-old woman got up about 6.40am at her Opiki property to investigate a noise she thought might have been her partner returning from milking.
Instead, she was confronted by a man armed with what police believed was a knife.
Palmerston North Detective Sergeant David Thompson said demands for "material items'' were made, however the woman wasn't able to comply.
"That's when it became more violent.''
Another intruder then appeared and joined in the struggle. Mr Thompson declined to comment on the exact nature of the demands.
"We understand that during this time he has received a wound to the stomach with scissors,'' Mr Thompson said.
The men then fled in a vehicle, and the injured woman barricaded herself in her room and called police.
The offenders were not known to the victims, and police said there had not been a spate of similar incidents in the area.
"Everything indicates that they are strangers to the occupants. Whether it's a case of mistaken identity or an opportunist [attack], it's hard to say.''
Police believe the offenders were not waiting for the woman's partner to leave the house, but many residents in the area left for milking duties early in the morning, Mr Thompson said.
Rural residents were advised to keep their doors locked.
Central police district communications manager Sara Stavropoulos said it was unknown if the offender's injuries were a result of the female victim's attempts to defend herself.
"We haven't formally spoken to her. She's still at the hospital in a very distressed state.
"We know she has taken steps to defend herself, but we don't know any details.''
The victim was being treated at Palmerston North Hospital for injuries she sustained to her upper body during the attack. Police hoped to interview her later today.
The offenders were still on the run. Police wanted to speak to anyone who saw a vehicle speeding and driving dangerously in the Opiki area between 6.50am and 7.15am today.
A description of the vehicle was unavailable.
The first offender is described as Maori, with a noticeable missing tooth. He was wearing dark clothing. The second man was described as Caucasian with blond hair.
A scene examination was underway at the property, and six police officers were working on the investigation.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Constable Nick Parlane on 06 215 4962. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- by Brendan Manning