Coronavirus: How to nicely tell relatives they're breaking the COVID-19 lockdown rules

New Zealanders have been hearing it for days now - stay home and save lives from the coronavirus COVID-19.

But if someone you know isn't doing their part and not following lockdown rules, what exactly can you do to protect us all?

The Ministry of Health has an email to dob in friends and family but people not wanting to go to that extreme should follow the advice of Associate Professor Craig Fowler - an expert in communications, journalism, and marketing at Massey University.

"You should absolutely say something but for the most part, yelling is your last resort rather than your first," Fowler told The Project on Thursday.

"If you want to bring about any lasting change in behaviour you do have to get into communication mode with these people."

When dealing with the elderly population, Fowler said it's important they understand how important they are.

"What they do models appropriate behaviour for younger family members like their grandchildren, who may not understand."

Fowler had a message to those not wanting to follow lockdown rules.

"Think of the tens of thousands of other people right now who desperately wish that they were in your shoes.

"They would do anything to have the luxury of four weeks at home with their families and instead, they're going out and they're risking their lives to keep us safe so the least we can do is do anything we can to ease that burden on them," Fowler told The Project.