Video: Pop in to the tiniest Countdown in the country

For the small and sleepy Paihia community, things kick into high gear for a short couple of weeks in February.

Paihia, 60km north of Whangarei, is just round the corner from Waitangi. Every year during Waitangi weekend, politicians and media pour into the tiny town. 

The near 30 degree temperatures also draw crowds of tourists. Waitangi weekend this month brought massive cruise ship Ovation of the Seas, which ferried thousands of tourists into the shore.  A P&O cruise ship unloaded yet more travellers from Auckland. 

So who caters to the huge swell of hot, hungry and tired travellers? 

The smallest Countdown supermarket in the country, only 237sqm. It's just a bit larger than the average New Zealand house, 205sqm.

If you're staying in Paihia and have an urgent need, you can count on Countdown Paihia manager Lee. She says they do whatever they can to "get in what customers need and what they require". 

The small store brings big job satisfaction for Lee. 

"It's just awesome being here, working here, the customers love it," Lee says smiling.  

Drive three minutes around the bend and you'll find the Waitangi Countdown, just over a kilometre away. The Waitangi Countdown is 1312sqm, meaning you could fit the Paihia Countdown into Waitangi Countdown almost six times. 

But Paihia manager Lee says they don't' suffer from 'size envy', as its "not about the size, its what you do with it". 

Progressive Enterprises bought the old town firestation to turn it into a Countdown in 2014. Known around town as the 'baby Countdown', it provides many an icy drink and sausage for the barbeque for travellers and locals alike. 


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