COVID Tracer app users may have noticed a new 'Easter egg' feature when using the latest version of the app, intended to "bring a smile to a few faces".
Developed in collaboration with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), emojis have been encoded into the software that appear when you hover your camera over certain QR codes when using the app.
Scan a COVID Tracer app QR code, and you could find unicorn emojis gliding across your smartphone screen. Star, rainbow and fire emojis also appear when hovering over other QR codes.
"We're hoping that it brings a smile to a few faces, reminds people to keep the app up-to-date, and encourages people to scan the other QR codes they see to keep a private digital diary of where they've been," a Ministry of Health spokesperson told Newshub.
The spokesperson said the feature was added to the app by DPMC's 'Unite Against COVID-19' group, which is currently running an online and TV campaign to promote scanning QR codes.
"This campaign prominently features a QR code, which looks about the same as the QR codes that New Zealanders are now very familiar with scanning in NZ COVID Tracer," the spokesperson said.
"We wanted to give some positive reinforcement for people who open up the app and scan the QR code when they see it, without adding entries to diaries."
A Reddit user remarked that they're "loving" the new Easter eggs.
But the Ministry of Health has come under fire in the past for spending taxpayer money on lighthearted features amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newstalk ZB revealed in March that a music remix and video of Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield cost the taxpayer nearly $40,000, as part of the Government's 'Unstoppable Summer' campaign.
The video appeared to be a hit with the public, however, going viral on social media. Officials estimated it reached more than 46 million people around the world and was danced to by more than 105,000 festival-goers.
The latest Ministry of Health data shows there are 2.9 million registered users of the COVID Tracer app.
There were 496,933 scans in the last 24 hours.