A passenger was removed from an aircraft preparing to fly from Whangarei to Auckland on Monday after a relative apparently joked they were carrying a bomb.
Air New Zealand confirmed the "potential security concern", in which security protocols were immediately put into place with the passenger and their luggage removed from the aircraft.
Police confirmed they responded to an incident "where a person alleged another person was in possession of an explosive" at just after 2pm on Monday.
"Police did an extensive search of the person's belongings and the plane and no items of concern were found. The matter was resolved and two people - a man and a woman - are assisting police with our enquiries," a police spokesperson said.
Michael Chubb, Whangarei District Airport manager, said it serves as a reminder that there's no such thing as humour when it comes to safety and air travel.
"It appears to have been a careless joke from the passengers' relatives, calling across the fence," Chubb told Newshub.
"So yeah like the sign says - all jokes are taken seriously."
The aircraft has since travelled to Auckland as scheduled.