An Air New Zealand domestic flight had to turn back after a fault was discovered with the plane's landing gear.
Flight 8369 left Auckland Airport bound for Nelson just before 8pm but had to return when a landing gear on the Dash 8 failed to close properly.
Fire crews were placed on standby but the plane landed without injuries to the 45 passengers or three crew.
Passenger Nigel Wilson said no one on the plane was alarmed thanks to the efforts of the crew.
"They handled it really well, they reassured us all the time and explained everything," said the Nelson man.
"No one seem pertubed. They were calm because [the captain] was calm."
Wilson saw fire engines as the plane landed, but passengers had been warned they would be there.
Air New Zealand spokesman Mark Street said the landing was not an emergency one.
Passengers continued their journey to Nelson on a different plane just before 9pm.
Another passenger, who did not want to be named, described the crew and Air New Zealand staff on the ground as "awesome".
"When we landed they came out with water and said we could stay in Auckland if we wanted, but most people just wanted to get home."