A Fullers ferry was halted mid-trip when a passenger refused to put on a face mask and started arguing with fellow passengers.
Will Ryan, who posted part of the incident on Facebook, said he believed it was his right not to wear a face mask - something that is compulsory under level 2 restrictions.
He had plenty of support from people commenting on the video, but staff and passengers on board the ferry in Auckland weren't impressed with his actions and urged him to wear a mask to keep himself and others safe.
Epidemiologist Michael Baker agrees, saying commuters must wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and people need to realise there are limits to their actions when it comes to public health.
"Individuals have to say, 'My right to do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want has its limits'.
"If you are sharing the same air as other people [in a public setting], you don't smoke and you wear a mask."
The video shows Ryan arguing with passengers aboard the ferry about his refusal to don a mask.
Fullers staff members approach to ask why he isn't wearing a mask, he responds that it is due to medical reasons and it not being "the law".
While the country is at alert level 2 and higher, it is compulsory for people travelling on buses, planes, trains and ferries to wear a face covering to protect themselves and others.
Only someone with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering safely or comfortably is exempt from wearing a mask.
The situation escalates when Ryan repeatedly refuses to wear a mask and yells at fellow passengers, before the ferry comes to a complete halt as the Master comes to deal with the situation.
"Put a mask on so we can go home," one exasperated passenger says, as the stalemate continues.
A Fullers360 spokeswoman said police were later alerted to the situation in line with the company's protocol.
"In accordance with our Standard Operating Procedure, situations of this nature [disruptive passenger] are escalated to the Master, who's ultimately responsible for the safety of all onboard," she said.
"While the Master spoke with the passenger, the vessel was paused for approximately three minutes. He was given a mask and reminded of the mandatory nature of wearing a face covering while on public transport."
Fullers has also implemented physical distancing aboard its ferries and stationed hand sanitiser aboard all vessels and wharves, as well as hand soap in the rest rooms.
"The safety of our passengers is our priority and we are really proud of our crew for responding to this situation with such professionalism," the Fullers360 spokeswoman said.
"Our crew did everything they are required to do, followed the guidelines, and overall did a brilliant job responding to the individual."
Public health expert Baker said the incident was an example of the ongoing challenges public health interventions face.
"People will often react against things that are unfamiliar," he said.
"Change is difficult. But there are lots of examples where people initially resisted to something they now take as a fact of life.
"Smoke-free bars are an example: there was a time when people though it was their right to light up and now it's completely unacceptable to the people around them."
And physical distancing alone aboard public transport isn't enough, Baker said.
"By far, the main way the virus is spread is through respiratory and aerosol droplets. If someone coughs or sneezes, it those droplets can be spread for many metres - a sneeze can fill an entire small room in seconds.
"If you're wearing a mask, you're stopping those droplets firing out, it's effective for source control."
A police spokeswoman said officers were alerted to the situation following a report of a person not wearing a face covering.
"Police continues to take an education and encouragement approach and no infringements have been issued to date," she said.
"The public response to the rules around wearing face coverings on public transport continues to be overwhelmingly positive and compliance has been high."
While many see donning a mask on public transport as doing their part for the public good, while Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly overseas, it might take longer for others to see the benefits of it, Baker said.
"New Zealand has escaped the worst of the pandemic, our lives haven't been blighted in the way it has overseas," he said.