Auckland bars were the first in the hospitality sector to open their doors after an excruciating lockdown that went on for nearly four months.
Patrons were welcomed into the likes of waterfront bar Danny Doolan's, including Breakfast reporter Larissa Howie, who said fellow patrons told her "it felt quite weird" to be back in a bar after so long.
"If you're planning a big night out this weekend, remember your vaccination passports and also remember to be kind to hospitality staff because they've had a really long lockdown too," Howie said on Breakfast on Friday morning.
"They haven't been able to go to work so remember to show them some respect while you're enjoying your weekend back out and about.
"For Aucklanders this has been a long time coming."
Under the Red setting in the traffic light system, up to 100 people are allowed to into a venue at any one time. All must present their vaccination pass on entry.
As the new system gets underway, around 70,000 Kiwis have been granted temporary vaccine pass exemptions.
Passes are required to get into most venues from Friday, but thousands of New Zealanders are still waiting to receive theirs.
The Ministry of Health says it's a short-term move as their call centres deal with a wave of callers needing assistance accessing their passes.