Large numbers of low income people are relying on the Auckland City Mission for emergency food in the lead up to Christmas.
Beneficiaries, homeless people and struggling families lined up from before 6am on Friday for food parcels the mission is giving out.
At one point on Friday morning the queue stretched from the mission on Hobson Street to St Matthew's Church.
Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme many clients have come to them in crises but are now unable to break away from gruelling, ongoing poverty.
"There's no jobs available, costs are getting higher and it's getting more difficult all the time for them."
Ms Robertson says because of the high numbers the mission is often only able to give out basic food parcels rather than extra Christmas food.
She says the mission has to make sure clients have no benefit left before giving them food.