Emergency services at the scene after reports of multiple stabbings. Photo: Craig Baxter/ODT

A person is in policy custody after as many as five people were stabbed at a supermarket in Dunedin this afternoon.

Countdown corporate affairs manager Kiri Hannifin earlier confirmed there had been people stabbed about 2.30pm at the supermarket in Dunedin. She said two of them were employees.

In a statement, Southern DHB said five people had presented to the emergency department as a result of a stabbing at Countdown supermarket today and were being assessed and treated.

“Four patients are being admitted to hospital in a serious condition, three to the ICU and one to general ward. One patient is being treated in the emergency department.”

In a statement, police said one person had been taken into custody after the attack.

One witness said she believed the attacker was on drugs. Another said a man was having a psychotic episode and used two knives to stab people before being disarmed by people in the store including staff.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, speaking after a Cabinet meeting, said there was nothing to suggest it was a domestic terror event.

“Needless to say, such an attack is hugely concerning and I do want to acknowledge the really early report of courageous acts by bystanders.

“Our thoughts are with all those who’ve been affected by this attack.”

She said police were still working through the motivation of the attack.

“They want to have a bit more time before they make public statements on that,” she said.

Police were not looking for any other individuals and there was no reason to believe anyone else is involved, Ardern said.

St John Ambulance said all the injured were taken to Dunedin Hospital, three in a critical condition and one in a serious condition.

Staff have been told not to comment to media.

Hannifin said there were very few details at this stage.

“I’m having trouble … to talk to the managers in the store but I’m having trouble getting much out of them because … they’re in shock, but also trying to deal with injuries of those customers and teams. I’m in quite a bit of shock myself.”

In a statement, Countdown said it was “shocked and devastated” by the events, and its priority was the injured members of staff and caring for their team.

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