WELLINGTON, Sept 28 - The Hastings primary school was broken into sometime between Friday September 22 and the following Tuesday, and 20 Acer Chromebooks were taken.

The laptops were taken from the school's reading recovery room and were still in their boxes, says Senior Constable Pehi Potaka.

The theft has hit the school hard, he said.

"This is particularly upsetting for the kids who have lost resources that will be hard to replace," Potaka said.

"Thefts like this affect the whole community - dozens of kids will be missing out on great learning opportunities."

Police believe the laptops are likely to be offered for sale, possibly on social media.