Volunteers at a new free food service in Auckland say hundreds of people have queued in the street and they were forced to turn many away.
The Freestore opened in West Auckland on Monday morning.
It gives away food which would otherwise go to waste because of defects such as damaged packaging or bakery items which are overcooked or misshaped.
Spokesperson Kim Paton says the crowds gathered early on Monday and Pacific Wardens came to control people lining the main street in Henderson.
Ms Paton says many people who turned out to use the store are beneficiaries who can not afford to buy healthy groceries and it had run out of food within an hour of opening.
A similar store operates in Wellington, but Monday's demand was bigger than anything they have ever seen there, she says.