Driving sober and not hurting yourself or others is its own reward.

But those who made the right decision to stay off the booze before getting behind the wheel in Auckland last night were celebrated with an extra special thank you from some of our toughest men on the rugby league field.

Players from the Vodafone Warriors joined Auckland Transport and police in a major alcohol prevention operation at checkpoints in Manukau, East Tāmaki, Takanini and Mt Wellington.

The hometown heroes handed out treats to those who passed through the check point sober, had a sober driver or were using a driving service.


Rewards included flags, miniature rugby balls, and meet and greets with favourite Warriors' players.

Some motorists were also given tickets to the side's match against the Penrith Panthers on August 24 at Mt Smart Stadium.

Manurewa resident Kuki Ionatana doesn't drink alcohol so wasn't worried when he pulled up at the checkpoint last night.

He was given tickets to the Warriors' next game for being a sober driver.

"It was unexpected," he said.

"Hat's off to them for coming out."

Agnatius Paasi, a forward for the Warriors, was one of the players helping out at the checkpoint.

"It's good for the boys to come out and help the community to drive safe and make good decisions," he told the Herald.

National road policing manager, Superintendent Steve Greally, said it was amazing to have the Warriors rewarding good behaviour and reinforcing the importance of sober driving.

"People were very surprised to see them at the check point with police. As an organisation they have taken a strong stance against driving under the influence of alcohol and we really commend them for that."

The operation was designed to encourage positive behaviours, rather than focusing only on those breaking the law.

"Aside from a potential conviction and date in court, your risk of being involved in a serious crash is vastly heightened when driving under the influence of alcohol. Tragically, 75 people in Auckland have lost their lives and further 516 were seriously injured in alcohol related crashes in the last five years [to 2017].

"That tells us that attitudes around drink driving still have to change."

Police knew many people looked up to the Warriors, he said.

"We hope that if they can see the Warriors players want people to drive drink free, then it might make them think twice before they get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol."

Warriors chief executive Cameron George said last night's operation was a special experience for the players.

"It also gave them the chance to make a real contribution in helping to raise awareness of the drive drink free message.

"We believe we have a responsibility to support our community in a positive way and our players are in a position to make a real difference."

It was too early for police to say how many people had been processed for drink driving at last night's check points.