As traffic eases at Auckland's checkpoints today many motorists are still flummoxed infuriated by delays of up to 10 hours yesterday.
Horses were seen being walked along the roadside, while concerned animal lovers squirted water onto sheep trapped in stock trucks as babies were heard screaming from their cars under the beaming hot Waikato sunshine yesterday.
And after delays of many hours, most at Auckland's southern checkpoint at Mercer, some motorists reported being ushered through without question, while some were threatened with being turned around due to a lack of paperwork.
State Highway 1 was on Monday split into two lanes - one for cars and one for trucks, which was relatively free-flowing at 9am today.
Counties Manukau Senior Sergeant Jonathon Chappell told Newstalk ZB at the Mercer checkpoint this morning that 23,000 vehicles had gone through the five checkpoints on Auckland's southern border yesterday.
The total number of vehicles was more than those who went through the checkpoints during the city's previous three-day lockdown.
In 22 hours, only 320 vehicles had been turned back for either not having a legitimate reason for travelling or not having the required paperwork.
Most people had been understanding, though Chappell told ZB: "you can't please everyone".
ACT leader David Seymour described yesterday's traffic fiasco as "absolutely extraordinary" on Newstalk ZB today.
"It just beggars belief. I mean, I had people texting me all night - we had people, in their nineties, having to go to the bathroom on the side of the road, ambulances collecting people because they'd expired in the heat.
"And it shows a few things - first of all, this government's total lack of commonsense. Why would you stop people entering Auckland?
"The point is to keep the virus contained within Auckland, not stop people going home."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attributed the traffic jam to a lockdown kicking in at the weekend.
One of the 23,000 was Auckland man Graham, who told the Herald it took him eight hours and 30 mins to get home from Hamilton yesterday.
"That was a terrible experience ... I cannot believe action was not taken to relieve the congestion, which was out of control.
"Once you were stuck, all you could do was go with it as getting out to turn back was impossible. People should be fired for what happened yesterday."
He said he'd driven in many countries around the world "and thought I had experienced the worst, but that changed yesterday".
One motorist said he only noticed six police staff on the southern checkpoint, while another said it took her husband six hours to travel from Te Kauwhata to Meremere at 9pm yesterday and even then was still waiting to get through.
"No food, no toilets. Something needs to be done."
Meanwhile, police today clarified what people need to have on them when attempting to get through a checkpoint.
If they lived in Auckland they needed to have proof of residential address, which had both people's names and addresses on the document - a bank statement or power bill.
They should also have their driver's licence, while passengers also needed photo ID unless they were minors.
Any Ministry of Health documentation should also be carried.
However, many motorists reported mixed messages yesterday, and after waiting on average four hours to get through, many were simply waived through after being asked where they were going.
The situation got so desperate along SH1 south of Mercer yesterday that people had no choice but to urinate on the road, while animals suffered in the heat.
A livestock lane was eventually opened later in the afternoon by police, which let people ring *555 and get a police escort through the traffic.