Dunedin attack Photograph:( Twitter )
Witnesses told local media a man carrying two knives stabbed staff in the supermarket and bystanders who tried to stop him were also injured
Five people were taken to Dunedin Hospital on Monday afternoon after the shock stabbing attack at a supermarket in the South Island city in New Zealand.
Three people have critical injuries and another two were moderately injured.
Ambulances attended the scene within minutes of being notified.
Witnesses told local media a man carrying two knives stabbed staff in the supermarket and bystanders who tried to stop him were also injured.
The most recent mass-casualty attack in New Zealand was the Christchurch mosques shootings in March 2019, when a white supremacist gunman murdered 51 Muslim worshippers and severely injured another 40.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the first question she asked police was whether the Dunedin attack had national security implications but they assured her it did not.
"At this stage, there's nothing to suggest from the police's perspective that this is what they would define as a domestic terror event," she told reporters.
Ardern also said police were not looking for anyone else concerning the attack.
"I want to acknowledge early reports of bystanders who have taken action to protect those around them... these are courageous acts and we are thinking of the families," she said.
Countdown's managing director Spencer Sonn said everyone at the supermarket chain was "shocked and devastated" by the attack.
New Zealand introduced tough gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch attack to limit access to firearms.
(With inputs from agencies)