Kiwis have responded to overseas criticism that strict lockdown rules have made New Zealand a "hellhole" with characteristic sarcastic humour.
An offshore Twitter account, with 7500 followers, likened Aotearoa to hell on Earth, saying on Sunday: "You can't leave. And you can't easily have people in. And you're back in lockdown in major parts of the country. And the quarantine camps are public knowledge."
A subsequent tweet from the @LockdownNo account said New Zealanders seem to "think that the extreme authoritarianism in New Zealand is fine. Do they believe Covid will be eradicated globally or are they content to live in a police state forever?"
Despite the original tweet getting just 54 likes, it sparked a huge response from New Zealanders, who quickly jumped to the country's defence. Within 48 hours, tweets containing the "NZhellhole" hashtag numbering more than 12,700. The hashtag has remained popular in New Zealand since then.
Awful day here in the #NZHellhole," one user wrote. "The Nelson Market was cancelled so had to get fresh-baked bread and organic sausages from the farmer's market instead. Off for a stroll in native bush this afternoon and maybe go to a movie. O the tyranny of this jackbooted regime."
Not sure how much longer I can tolerate this place," another user wrote. "Things came to a head on Friday when the Government emailed to tell me they wanted to give me some more money. The compassionate, helpful b……."
Many users shared pictures of the scenery, food and drinks they are enjoying while Auckland is in level 3 lockdown, with its residents confined to their local areas, and the rest of the country is at level two and able to travel.
This man tried to swim to freedom from our island gulag. The authorities caught him and plunged him alive in molten bronze. His body is displayed as a warning to others. #NZHellhole pic.twitter.com/MrKKwfTocF— Horatio Dandy (@DandyHoratio) August 22, 2020
"We've escaped confinement and are on the run! Send help! #nzHellhole," one person wrote, including pictures of walkers taking in views of Auckland city from Mt Eden.
Those in Government-managed isolation facilities also got in on the act, ridiculing the "quarantine camp" label.
"Inside my quarantine camp #NZHellhole hell," one person said, sharing pictures of what looked like a relatively spacious hotel room. "A king-size bed just for me and how dare the TV be so large! Thank goodness for the free wi-fi so I could vent my spleen."
The post labelling New Zealand a hellhole came just a day after US president Donald Trump said New Zealand's latest COVID-19 community outbreak was out of control, despite data proving otherwise.
His statements have raised many eyebrows, with Auckland mayor Phil Goff saying we were "somewhat mystified" by them.
Asked about Trump's comments at Friday's press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern drew upon statistics to call him out on them.
She said New Zealand was among a small number of countries that still had a low rate of COVID-19 cases, and has one of the lowest COVID death rates in the world.
"To give you just one example, the United States has 16,563 cases per million people. We have 269 cases per million people."
New Zealand is "one of many countries around the world" dealing with a resurgence of COVID-19, she said, adding that, relatively speaking, it is "on a very, very small scale".
"Our approach to COVID has been different to other countries but it's an approach I think we can all feel very proud of."