Pak n' Save staff at Silverdale used a defibrillator and carried out chest compressions on a male customer after he suffered a suspected heart attack in his car.

The incident happened this morning in the supermarket's car park.

A Foodstuffs spokeswoman said first aid-trained staff used the defibrillator which was kept in all the chain's stores and carried out chest compressions on the man till emergency services arrived.

An ambulance spokesperson said a patient in his 40s was dead when ambulance personnel arrived.

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Eyewitnesses posted about the incident on Facebook.

Another wrote: "Was still there when I left about half hour ago but two ambulances and fire engine in attendance."

A supermarket spokesman referred inquiries to Foodstuffs.

Ambulance comms could not be reached but a Fire Service spokesman confirmed fire personal had attended.

He said the Fire Service responded to all cardiac arrest incidents in New Zealand.