Supermarkets are slammed today, with last-minute Easter booze runs combining with storm stockpiling as Cyclone Cook bears down on New Zealand.

In Auckland people are queuing up and in the Bay of plenty area people were packing their trolleys with non-perishables, food, and bottled water ahead of the forecast weather event expected to bring power cuts, road closures, slips and flooding.

People were also stocking up for the long Easter weekend, resulting in lengthy queues for the checkout at local supermarkets and barely any car parks available.

Easter trading rules come in tonight at midnight and no alcohol can be sold at supermarkets and other off-licences on Good Friday.


The laws relax again until midnight on Saturday when restrictions are back in place for Easter Sunday.

A reporter at Pak'n Save Papamoa was topping up on groceries about midday and said the store was "chocka" but she only waited about 10 to 15 minutes to get to the checkout.

People stockpiling alcohol and food at a Tauranga supermarket. Photo/ Beck Vass, Twitter
People stockpiling alcohol and food at a Tauranga supermarket. Photo/ Beck Vass, Twitter

"People were polite, so [it was] not an awful trip. Did notice bottled water going into trolleys, along with the usual items, plus Easter chocolate."

She said store employees were in aisles restocking shelves, so when it came time to grab things such as bread, it was actually there.

Foodstuffs CEO Chris Quin said the company had been calling to check on their Coromandel and eastern Bay of Plenty stores three times a day in the lead-up to Cyclone Cook's arrival.

He said things were busy, as to be expected before Easter, but thanks to good planning everything was running smoothly.

"Our logistics team who do all of our transport and stocking have done a great job of getting enough stock in," Quin said.

In particular, Foodstuffs, which runs Pak'n Save and New World supermarkets, had focused on stocking enough bread and milk - "those essentials" - ahead of the storm.

Yesterday had seen some panic buying in Whakatane Pak'n Save but today was much calmer.

"The panic's coming off because people are ready," he said.

"People being respectful and looking after one another."

Some shoppers have reported travelling to multiple supermarkets but not being able to find car parks at any.

One Tauranga woman said she drove to three supermarkets and could not find a park.

A Countdown supermarket spokeswoman said all store managers were too busy to take calls today as today was one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

However, she said although some stores were even busier today thanks to Cyclone Cook others were quieter than expected.

"All in all, it's just a busy day out there as people stock up for Easter on the essentials and ahead of the expected bad weather."

She asked people to be patient as supermarket staff did their best to keep long queues moving quickly.