Police in Christchurch say a bar worker was locked in a chiller in an aggravated robbery during which thousands of dollars were stolen.
They say two masked men smashed through a window of the Snafu Bar and Restaurant in Hornby using a tomahawk about 9.45pm on Sunday.
The robbers then threatened the lone bar attendant with what appeared to be a gun.
Police say the woman was not sure if the pistol was real or an imitation.
Detective Rob Kennedy says she was made to hand over the bar takings for the night, then stand in the bar's chiller while the two men made their getaway.
"She's surprisingly holding up well and she turned back up at work but we've contacted Victim Support for her," he says.
Mr Kennedy says he thinks it will hit her in the next few days how frightening the experience was.
A tomahawk with a distinctive "American Hickory" brand has been recovered from the scene and scientific investigators are examining clothing believed to belong to the burglars.
Police have released CCTV footage and are appealing for anyone with information that can help identify the offenders, or who saw any suspicious activity in the area, to contact them.