South Auckland police on the hunt for 'gutless, stupid idiots'

"Where is the whanau? Where is the mana? Where is the 'aiga (family)? Where is the pride?" 

Those are the questions a south Auckland detective has for a group of robbers he calls "violent imbeciles". 

Detective Inspector Fa'amanuia Va'aelua has made an impassioned plea for the public to help catch "gutless, stupid idiots", using CCTV footage released from an attack on Tuesday.

That night, just before 7:30pm, Kingsford supermarket worker Vikas Dubey was stacking a trolley, when out of nowhere four masked men stormed the shop and aggressively knocked him to the ground.

As they started ransacking the place for cigarettes, one grabbed Mr Dubey, holding a large knife to his throat.

Mr Dubey is still shaken following the traumatic ordeal and is now recovering at home.

"I was thinking you know, he was going to kill me," he told Newshub.  

The brazen nature of the attack has left police, in their own words, "disgusted". Insp Va'aelua has had enough. 

"These offenders acted like uneducated cowards and violent imbeciles. In their simple language - they're dumb, gutless, stupid idiots, and only behave violently when they're in a group," he said. 

The offenders are still at large but police say they're making progress in identifying them.

Auckland police have arrested 68 people for aggravated robberies across the city since February. Officers hope the maximum penalty of 14 years jail will act as a deterrent, but also want families to play a bigger role in preventing crime.

"Where are the families? Where are the mothers [and] the fathers?" Insp Va'aelua asked. 

Fellow Kingsford supermarket owner Kamiljit Singh already has 36 CCTV cameras inside his store, but says he accepts he'll need to do more. 

He's even considering installing a smoke bomb to safeguard his staff, in the hope of preventing yet another violent attack.