A group of around 100 protesters are in Tauranga calling for an end to the vaccine mandate.
The peaceful protest kicked off after 10am at the corner of Elizabeth St and Cameron Rd with dozens gathering by the road armed with flags and banners calling for the Government to halt the vaccine mandate.
Protesters are travelling from across the North Island to the Wellington today where the Freedoms & Rights Coalition is organising a march to Parliament to present a range of demands to lift lockdown restrictions.
Protesters in Tauranga were encouraged on social media to "bring signs, bring your passion, and unite together to show our Wellington family we are there in spirit".
Kayla, who refused to offer her last name, organised the protest on Facebook and said it wasn't anti-vaccination but anti-mandate.
"Everyone should have a choice what they do and don't put in their body," she said.
"People are being bullied for refusing the vaccine … families are breaking apart.
"We will never stop. There are too many of us against the mandate. There are people here vaccinated and unvaccinated, we're against mandate."
Some protesters have a stronger opinion and are calling for the Government and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to cede power.
"Our basic human rights are being taken away from us," one woman said.
The group has been growing in size with motorists on Cameron Rd getting a front seat view.
Only a couple of protesters are wearing masks and social distancing is non-existent.
There are no uniform police officers present but Bay of Plenty Police say they are aware of the protest.
"Police will work with our community partners to address any issues should they arise," a spokeswoman said.
Tempers have remained low except for the odd motorist telling the protesters to move on or "go back to work".
There are no chants and people are just speaking among themselves. The protesters share a considerable disdain towards the media.
There are signs saying: "Wake up NZ", "This is medical apartheid. Vax | unvax. Prejudice. Govt lied to you", "We stand for freedom", "Born to think, breathe, move & choose" and "Our rights our ours, not Govts."
One man had lived in New Zealand his whole life and only saw the country as divided during the Springbok 1981 tour.
Another protester said she was "angry" at the Government for the mandate and didn't call for them to step aside but rather end the mandate laws.
"I don't believe in no jab, no job," she said.
However, another protester nearby said she wouldn't stop protesting until the Government conceded power.
"The vaccinated are brainwashed. These aren't violent protests but we're prepared to stand up to the Government
There is barely a cloud in the sky and the sun has been beating down on the protesters who remain undeterred.
They have received far more support than angst from drivers moving past them and with each honk, a loud cheer erupts and they wave and clap.
Protesters plan to march to Parliament
Thousands of protesters have brought Wellington CBD to a standstill as they prepare to march to Parliament against Covid restrictions.
The Freedoms & Rights Coalition are marching to Parliament this morning to present their demands, which include an end to Covid restrictions and vaccine mandates.
Protesters beginning to gather at Parliament include a group of about 30 who travelled down from Whakatāne. They say they include teachers and even a principal, all opposed to the vaccine mandate which requires a first dose by November 15.
One of the protesters, a special needs teacher of over 20 years' experience, says she is prepared to leave her job, as are many others.
She says about 2000 people have travelled from Whakatāne and the wider region for today's protest. The woman, who refused to give her name, said she was concerned about Covid-19 but didn't trust the vaccine nor the Government.
Meanwhile, a police officer was bitten this morning by a protester at the northern Auckland border. Traffic was blocked in both directions for more than an hour by the protesters and some vehicles, police said.
Vehicles were towed as the disruption caused traffic to back up for about three hours, Waitematā district commander Superintendent Naila Hassan said.
"The actions of protesters required our staff to physically intervene to move them off the road. In the process one of our offices has been bitten by an as yet unidentified protester."
"Actions like this are totally avoidable and pose unnecessary risk to our staff who are simply trying do their part in preventing the spread of Covid-19."
Traffic is now flowing at Auckland's northern border after about 40 protesters blocked the highway.
"Like a volcano just waiting to erupt"
An opinion piece by the Freedoms & Rights Coalition posted today praised Destiny Church leader and protest group co-founder Brian Tamaki and described the mood in Auckland as "like a volcano just waiting to erupt".
"It is clear, our freedoms & rights will no longer be reclaimed in New Zealand through the judicial system, or through writing submissions, petitions, emails and letters," the post claimed.
"The voice of outrage from the people is growing decidedly louder day by day, tensions are rising, and people are reaching breaking point or boiling point. The number of protesters are gaining in force wherever the Prime Minister goes. The tide has turned ... the public mood has changed.
"We the people, know it's time to take matters into our own hands, as this government no longer serves us."
More to come.