The strike action came after the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) rejected a 1.4% pay hike proposed by the District Health Board earlier this week. The government says the nurses' demands amounted to a 17% increase that it can't afford, but pledged to continue negotiations.
Thousands of nurses marched on the streets holding placards, while others gathered at parks and outside hospitals around the country. Nurses have complained of being underpaid and burnt out, with conditions worsening with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All non-urgent surgeries and outpatient clinics were cancelled.