Wizards descended on book stores around the country this morning as the latest Harry Potter instalment hit the shelves.

By 11.25am, less than half an hour after it hit shelves, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was already sold out at the Dorothy Butler Children's Book Shop in Ponsonby.

Around 200 people - most of them dressed as characters from the blockbuster series - packed into the store, one of many around the country holding events to coincide with the release.

Sixty were on sale at the Ponsonby store, but 30 of those had been pre-ordered leaving only 30 for fans.


Co-owner Helen Wadsworth said the turnout a surprise.

"We were getting our friends to come because we didn't think anyone would come."

The launch at 11.01am was marked by Wadsworth, dressed as "Hellie" Potter, welcoming attendees and fans singing happy birthday to Harry Potter before the first box of books was opened.

The store gave a free copy to one lucky fan who had dressed up as her favourite character, Hermione Granger.

The winner, 10-year-old Grace Bridgeman from Grey Lynn, beamed when she talked about her favourite book series.

"I like how it's set in a wizardy world. I like Hermione because she's really smart and can do cool spells", she said.

Tabitha Sellar was eager to start the novel she had waited "a long time" for. Her mother pre-ordered a copy of the latest instalment.

Tabitha has read all seven of the previous Harry Potter books - almost one for each of her 8 years - and planned to start reading the Cursed Child this afternoon.

"I want to find out what happens. It's got a lot of adventures," she told the Herald.

Grace Brannigan and her friend William Shand, both 12, also pre-ordered their copies: "We wanted to get it as soon as possible."

Grace's Syltherin beanie and Hogwarts T-shirt stood out in the sea of Harrys and Hermiones.

She said she preferred Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood to the series' three main characters.

"I think they are quite underrated female characters. Everyone just looks at the golden trio - Hermione, Harry and Ron."

The book broke records in the US for being the most pre-ordered book since 2007 when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released.

The book's release coincided with JK Rowling's birthday.In the UK, bookstore Waterstones reported that pre-orders had already passed the six-figure milestone.

The book is the eighth part in the Harry Potter series, revisits many familiar characters, including Harry, Ron, and Hermione, while also introducing numerous new ones, such as Albus Severus Potter, Rose Weasley-Grainger, and Scorpius Malfoy.

Scholastic, the US publisher of Rowling's collaboration with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, has printed 4.5 million copies in North America.

Mila Guttenbeil, 11, and Grace Bridgeman, 10, get their hands Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Photo / Dean Purcell
Mila Guttenbeil, 11, and Grace Bridgeman, 10, get their hands Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Photo / Dean Purcell