From RNZ

The first domestic flight for New Zealanders who returned from overseas after entry restrictions were imposed has left Auckland.

Nearly 60 passengers, who had been staying in government quarantine in hotels, flew to either Wellington or Christchurch.

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All passengers had health checks before they took off, and have to self-isolate when they land.

To qualify for the special government-chartered flight, passengers had to be able to get to a self-isolation location within five hours of landing.

A total of 34 passengers went to Wellington and 23 went to Christchurch.

The National Crisis Management Centre said in the next few days, two to three flights a day would fly similar routes.

New rules since the lockdown came into force at midnight on March 25 meant anyone returning to New Zealand needed to self-isolate in the city they arrive in for two weeks.

Those without isolation plans were taken to hotels, or campervan parks, which have sprung up in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Domestic flights were only available for essential service workers, which raised dilemmas for how people could return to their homes if they lived far from the main centres.

On Tuesday, the Herald spoke to Adam Royter who was staying at the Ramada hotel in Manukau after arriving four days previously from Melbourne, shortly after the Government's tough new border laws demanded new arrivals spend 14 days in quarantine.

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After two weeks on a fishing trip to Australia, the Central Otago man was marched directly into quarantine in an Auckland hotel.

Adam Royter in quarantine at the Ramada Hotel, Manukau, Auckland. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Adam Royter in quarantine at the Ramada Hotel, Manukau, Auckland. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Like other quarantined guests at the hotel, Royter spent nearly every minute of his day inside his room and under the watchful eye of police.

"You're not really allowed to leave your room," he said. "There's a police presence 24/7 so you can't obviously just run off."

Royter said his friends were able to bring shopping to the door of his room, though he never saw them, the door remaining closed.

He was shocked to learn that the quarantined arrivals weren't the only ones staying at the Ramada: residents lived in serviced apartments on the upper floors.

He said they had to take a medical test in a room off the lobby every day, and travelled one at a time in lifts down to the ground floor.