The Prime Minister was met with a scattering of protesters in Gisborne, where she spoke about the protections for areas with low vaccination rates once the Auckland border lifts.
The group, most donned in sun huts and few wearing masks, were standing on the side of the road and can be heard yelling 'freedom', 'social credit system, and 'Chinese Communist Party'.
There were about 40-50 people holding signs. There was also about 10-15 protesters at a vaccination centre Ardern visited earlier.
Talking to media, Ardern said the requirement put on Aucklanders to be vaccinated or tested before departure "is one layer of protection, the second is vaccination across the country".
She said they had kept Auckland's border closed until December 15 so they could make the changes "to keep driving vaccinations".
Ardern said the other addition of the traffic light system kicking in, which was likely to be "very soon" after the November 29 Cabinet meeting, would also make an impact.
"For those Aucklanders who may be moving around the country, who are required to be tested, if they are not vaccinated, there are limited things they are able to engage with around the country".
She said officials were working with community and iwi in Northland on what the checks would look like going from Auckland into Northland, where the vaccination rate was "lower than we'd like".
When asked about other places with lower vaccination rates such as Tairāwhiti, Ardern said there could not be reliance on hard borders in "a country like ours that is so mobile".
"We'll keep using them in a way to slow the spread… but with high vax rates, with the Covid Protection Framework (CPF), we believe we can safely move back to being able to move around the country again."
Ardern was also asked about extending the vaccine mandate, which currently covers many workers in the health, education, and prison workforce, to police.
"We've had the Police Commissioner make very strong representations on behalf of the police, asking for mandates," Ardern said, adding there was already high rates of vaccination within police.
"Cabinet will consider that alongside some of the other vaccination work we're doing and give a final decision in due course.
"A number already were required as a requirement for those working in the border facilities."
When asked about mandates today, Police Minister Poto Williams said Cabinet was looking at mandates "across the whole public service".
"Constabulary would be most applicable because they have the front facing roles."