A man who collapsed in a supermarket freezer had to call 111 after his calls for help went unanswered.

The call for help by the Pak'nSave Rotorua employee led to the Rotorua Fire Brigade searching the store's freezers to find and rescue him.

Rotorua Fire Brigade senior station officer Cameron McEwen said they received the call from the man about 9am on Friday. "We think something happened in one of the 20ft freezers - he's collapsed and no one knew he was in there. He tried calling out but no one replied so he made the 111 call and we started a search to locate him."

Mr McEwen said there were a lot of freezers but fire fighters quickly narrowed it down to one of the back freezers.


"Once we found the right freezer we got him out. He wasn't very responsive when we reached him ... the ambulance was already on their way."

Mr McEwen said the outcome could have been much worse had they not found the man when they did.

"He could have been in a very bad state with those freezers. I don't like to endorse cell phone use, they can be a nuisance ... but he used his initiative."

A spokesperson from St John Ambulance said the man was taken to Rotorua Hospital in a moderate condition. Foodstuffs NZ Ltd corporate PR director Antoinette Laird said there would be an investigation into the incident. "The staff member was injured in the chiller and a staff member was already with him when the emergency services arrived," she said.

"It's my understanding that the injury is not serious and we are carrying out a health and safety investigation into the incident."

A WorkSafe New Zealand spokesperson said it was also looking into the incident.

"WorkSafe New Zealand has been notified of the incident at the Rotorua Pak'nSave and we are making follow-up inquiries."