Canterbury police are searching for a man who stole a "treasured Pounamu carving" from inside the Hanmer Springs pools early on Saturday morning.
Security footage of the robbery shows an individual approach the Pounamu held within the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa complex, break it off a stand and then wander off with the treasure.
"Staff and visitors are absolutely devastated and would love for it to be returned," Canterbury police say.
The footage was posted to Facebook by the police where it shocked users.
"That’s terrible," said one user.
"Hope you get endless bad luck," said another.
Police are now asking for assistance from the public.
"If you recognise the individual pictured, or have any information that could assist Police in their investigation into the theft, please contact Police on 105 and quote file number 200111/9331," police say.
Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.