Bay postie Deborah Freeth was shot in the leg as she cycled along her delivery route yesterday.
Excruciating pain radiated through her leg and forced her off her bike before she had finished delivering mail to businesses and residents along Maleme St in Greerton.
The 43-year-old postie was hit three times by small round paint balls fired at her from a passing car about 11.20am.
"It was raining and I didn't hear the car come up behind me," Mrs Freeth said. "The next thing I felt was an excruciating pain. I actually thought I had been shot (with a bullet)."
Mrs Freeth reached for her leg but instead of blood she found orange paint and large red welts.
She walked to a friend's house where she rang her boss at New Zealand Post before reporting the drive-by shooting to police.
"I went to the police because, if these idiots do it again, it could be a child that gets hurt or seriously injure someone."
A white four-door Mitsubishi gallant, carrying about three people was seen driving away.
Mrs Freeth has been delivering the mail for nearly four years and has never experienced such animosity. She has only been doing the Greerton route for two weeks after transferring from Papamoa.
Senior Sergeant Dave Thompson said the shooting could have had serious consequences, with the weapons having the potential to blind someone.
"It's just stupid behaviour. We are treating this very seriously."
Police would like to speak to anyone who may have seen the vehicle in Maleme St. Information can be left on 0800 SPEAK UP.