The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Director-General Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield as the pair fronted the last press conference of COVID-19 alert level 4.
At Monday's briefing, which the pair have hosted together almost-daily for the past four weeks, Jacinda Ardern acknowledged Dr Bloomfield and the team he has been supported by since the pandemic unfolded.
"I want to reserve my thanks for the day to Dr Bloomfield. I consider New Zealand to be very lucky to have a public servant of Dr Bloomfield's calibre - leading the health response," Ardern told reporters.
"His background in public health has meant I consider New Zealand to be amongst those countries who are lucky to have that expertise in leading our response - one that considers the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders in every respect.
"Dr Bloomfield, it's been a real honour."
Earlier in the press conference, Dr Bloomfield announced another person had died of COVID-19 in New Zealand as well as five new cases of the virus.
Ardern said nothing could take away the grief of those who have lost loved ones despite daily case numbers remaining low.
She sent her love to those who are grieving.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with you," Ardern said. "We send them our love in their time of loss."