How New Zealand spent its three months in COVID-19 lockdown

New Zealand has achieved a milestone that two months ago would have seemed near impossible. 

On Monday it was announced Aotearoa officially has no active cases of COVID-19. 

On the eve of our move to level 1, Newshub is taking a look back at the last three months of lockdown life. 

First came the panic - the fear kicked in and for a while panic-buying appeared more contagious than COVID as Kiwis bought up toilet paper, hand sanitiser and anything else they could get their hands on.

But then we hit community transmission and things got real on March 25 when it was announced New Zealand would move to alert level 4 - near-total lockdown. 

Accompanied by those unforgettable words - "go home, stay home". 

It was late March, the sun was still shining, the streets were empty and most people only left the house to go for a daily walk. 

To-do lists were written. Things like make sourdough, paint the fence. We didn't know what day it was or whether it was worth getting out of the pyjamas.

But we developed a new routine at 1pm every day with thousands tuning in to the Government's press conferences - and the country found a new hero, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

New Zealand had just over 200 cases when it went into lockdown and new cases were being added by the dozens in those first few weeks. 

Zoom calls became the new meeting room, parents became teachers and our team of five million was reminded by our Prime Minister to "be kind".

Teddy bears were the hit attraction while Friday drinks at the end of the drive rekindled neighbourly relations. 

And on March 29 the nation marked a sombre milestone - our first COVID-19 death. 

It was the first of 22 - many our most vulnerable, residents of rest homes.

But many more lives were undoubtedly saved as the lockdown worked.

The number of new cases dropped to single digits then the frustration set in.

Level 3 arrived on April 27 and we celebrated with takeaways.

There was another reason to celebrate on May 4 - New Zealand's first day with no new cases. 

It's been 17 days since the last new case was diagnosed and 75 days since our lives changed when the alert system was rolled out.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the success on Monday with a thank-you.

"While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple thank you New Zealand. "