Protesters have woken up to calm and still conditions in the capital this morning, on day eight of their sit-in on the Parliament lawn.
The atmosphere of the protest today resembles more like that of a farmer's market than the high tensions of last week.
There seem to be far fewer graphic signs; most of them say some variation of "End the Mandates" or "Freedom for New Zealand" rather than some of the aggressive and threatening messaging seen earlier on.
After a weekend of wild weather, the hay-strewn lawn is full of tents still intact, and protesters mill around drinking coffee and chatting.
There are visibly more people, tents and signs than last week, but the number of police does not appear to have grown since the last arrests were made on Thursday. They watch on several metres back from the orange barricade, which has been fortified in places by a concrete barrier.
Protesters have resumed delivering speeches, which have varied widely in topic.
One protester spoke passionately about a friend who he believed had died from the vaccine, while another said she was double vaccinated, but wanted to speak out to discredit reports made by police of unsanitary conditions at camp.
She implored the people of Wellington to come to support the protest movement.
Another speaker warned protesters there were "wolves in sheep's clothing" among the group and people trying to infiltrate the movement.
"Don't trust everyone who comes up here and speaks, even me," he said.
As anti-mandate protesters sought urgent talks with Government ministers yesterday, police warned Wellingtonians had now had a "gutsful" of the occupation and that the protest could drag on for weeks.
A record 981 new community Covid-19 cases were recorded on the occupation's seventh day, and the Government revealed New Zealand will enter the next stage of the planned three-phase Omicron response at 11.59 tonight.
The protesters at Parliament appeared to ignore a police offer of free parking on Monday night and instead turned nearby streets into a rave party, with their vehicles continuing to block central Wellington roads.
Rubbish is also piling up on nearby streets.
Meanwhile Wellington City Council issued about 180 parking tickets in the area of the protest last week.
Council spokesman Richard MacLean said just one ticket has been paid.
Vehicles parked on the footpath were slapped with a $40 fine and those parked on broken yellow lines were issued with a $60 fine.
Tickets were also issued on the grounds of "parking inconsiderately", MacLean said.
Parking wardens issued the tickets with police at their side.
"Obviously we are concerned about the safety of our staff", MacLean said.
While no further tickets have been issued this week, the council is keeping its options open, MacLean said.
On Monday afternoon, Superintendent Corrie Parnell, the Wellington District Commander, urged people parked unlawfully around the Wellington CBD to move their vehicles, saying they could instead park for free in a secured area at Sky Stadium from 6.30pm.
A witness told the Herald just before 9.30pm that protesters were singing and dancing, with cars and campervans still illegally blocking nearby roads.
"It looks like these guys aren't going anywhere," the man said.
A police spokesman said last night that they could not confirm any progress regarding protesters' vehicles.
University closed, security increased
Victoria University's Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford said they had to close the campus near Parliament because so many people were parked in the car parks and camping on the lawn.
The university had locked down the business school and law faculty and had advised 1500 summer students to stay home with classes moved online.
On top of the students, there were another 250 to 300 staff who had also been impacted.
Speaking to RNZ, Guilford said police had a trespass notice to use if and when they thought it was appropriate.
We are determined not to act in isolation of the police for obvious reasons."
He said there was "a lot of confusion on the ground" because the law building was called the Old Government Building so people were struggling to differentiate the university from the Government.
The main bus terminal was also closed due to the protest and heading into the first trimester it would be much more challenging as they would be managing 22,000 students.
Students and staff had been physically and verbally abused by some people in the crowd.
"That sense of intimidation is especially felt by our female students and staff and as a result, we've advised them to stay away."
He said they were just having to "wait it out" and he supported the police's very careful approach to this.
"I don't think they are going anywhere until such time until some of their demands are met or they are physically removed."
The university had also beefed up its security.
Neighbours says protest extremely disruptive
Former National MP Tim Groser, who lives directly opposite Parliament, said the protest was extremely disruptive.
It was difficult to understand how they could "possibly succeed in their protests" with 95 per cent of people getting vaccinated and broadly supporting the mandate, he told RNZ.
The only way to resolve it was not setting artificial deadlines, identify the influencers and try and work towards a peaceful solution in the long run, he said.
"I'm strongly behind the mature response of the NZ police."
Groser said the rash decision to engage in psychological warfare and turn on the sprinklers and play Barry Manilow over the speakers probably sounded like a good idea at 9.30pm at night, but the right approach is to do what the police are doing.
They were trying to engage a group of influencers which was going to be difficult given they were a "motley crew" of far-right-wing Trump-like people and evangelical Christians.
Groser, a former Cabinet minister, said he suspected a meeting with a senior Government minister would be part of an orchestrated solution, but urged people to be patient and back the police's gentle approach.
Living next door to the protest was disruptive and concerning. "It's just part of the deal I'm sorry, we live in a democracy, this is part of the formula and we have to put up with this."
Former New Zealand Human Rights Commissioner Rae Julian said she didn't deny the protesters right to protest and believed the police tactics so far had probably been correct.
She lives across the road from Parliament's grounds and said her problem was that she was 80 years old and had no car so if she needed to go outside, she had to walk through all the unmasked protesters which put her at risk of getting Covid. "It's my right to be able to move freely around."
The negotiations did not appear to be working and there was a lot of confusion among the protesters, she told RNZ. Julian had asked a young girl why she was there and she said she was protesting against the mandate, but when she asked her to explain what it was - she didn't know.
"I don't like the thought of children participating and seeing the police as the enemy."
When asked about whether it was infringing on human rights, Julian said that "rights and responsibilities must always be balanced against each other".
The mandates were saying teachers who weren't vaccinated couldn't work in classrooms, but this was protecting the rights of the children they were teaching, she said.
She said she had not been shouted at probably due to being an old grey-haired lady, but had heard others had been including children walking to school which she did not think was right.
Protesters show no sign of leaving
In central Wellington, police reported having some successful talks with demonstrators yesterday. However local residents had now had "a gutsful" from protest disruption, and wanted the protesters gone.
Several protest groups asked for an audience with the Government to demand an end to vaccine mandates and other Covid-19 restrictions.
"Not one Government representative has engaged in dialogue with the peaceful protesters," a statement distributed mid-afternoon read.
"The protest is a result of immense frustration and concern. People are outraged by the conduct of the Government and its lack of respect, dismissive attitude and unwillingness to engage."
Although protesters have aired different views and grievances, opposition to vaccine mandates has been central to the convoy movement.
"The position of protesters and the Government have become entrenched, but this protest can end."
The emailed statement said it summarised the views of Convoy 2022 NZ, Freedom Alliance, New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science, Outdoors & Freedom Movement, The Freedom and Rights Coalition and Voices for Freedom.
The groups demanded that the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act and all orders and mandates made under that legislation must be revoked immediately.
"The Government needs to lift the unnecessary mandates, and an urgent meeting has been requested with senior Cabinet ministers to open dialogue."
The Prime Minister soon after indicated those demands would have to be greatly toned down before such a request would be considered.
"Their request and demand of the New Zealand people is that all public health measures are removed," Jacinda Ardern said.
"Forgive me if I take a very strong view on that suggestion."
Ardern did not say what she thought of Speaker Trevor Mallard's decisions to turn on lawn sprinklers last week and blast pop music at demonstrators.
But she again voiced displeasure at the occupiers and disagreement with many of the views on display.
Some protesters took umbrage at Ardern's earlier claims the occupation was peppered with Donald Trump flags.
Several told the Herald their cause had been mischaracterised.
Yesterday, police clarified no plans were in place at this stage to tow protesters' vehicles away.
"Overnight, some protesters did move vehicles that were obstructing the roads which is greatly appreciated by police and the public," Superintendent Corrie Parnell said.
But he said other disruption to residents, schools and workplaces was creating real stress and concern, and people were feeling unsafe.
Parnell said police would give vehicle owners information about how to move to a secure parking site at Sky Stadium from 6.30pm last night.
By 9pm no vehicles had reportedly been moved.
This solution should work for protesters and give people the ability to move freely through the city again, he said.
"Wellingtonians have had a gutsful in terms of the disruption."
At a press conference, he said it was likely the protest could remain for days or even weeks.
Parnell had a message to the owners of the vehicles: "Come to the table with us, open those streets up, that's a win-win for everybody."
Police had held productive talks with some protest groups, and attempts to connect with other factions were ongoing.
But the number of children present on the grounds was a major concern, given fears of possible sanitation issues from portaloos, Parnell said.
Former police negotiator Lance Burdett criticised the Government's handling of the protest.
"People are angry and it's due to frustration. We've been held back for two years now," he told NewstalkZB. "The harder you tell someone what to do the greater their reaction."
Veteran protester and activist John Minto said the Government's vaccine mandates had divided the country.
He said although a few demonstrators had nefarious motives, most of the current protesters were "good people".
"The key thing is people need to feel they have been listened to, and I don't think they have."
The House of Representatives is sitting this week and many MPs will return to Parliament today.