DPA said that China refused to allow the aircraft land because there is no permission from the Chinese authorities. The plane, which has not yet been confirmed, returned to Auckland about five hours after it took off and that it did not have permission from the Chinese authorities to land.
Some airlines, including American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Hawaiian Holdings Inc., Qantas Airways Ltd., Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG cooperated with China's wishes on reference to Taiwan before last year's deadline.
Air New Zealand did not immediately respond to a Stuff's request for comment. Saturday was the first time a plane from the route, which is being serviced by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, had attempted to fly to Shanghai.
Eric Hundman, an assistant professor at the Shanghai campus of New York University, told the New Zealand Herald the flight had taken as scheduled just before midnight on Saturday night.
The National Party says it looks like New Zealand's relationship with China is deteriorating and the government needs to get its act together quickly to sort it out.
Ms Ardern said she had a standing invitation to visit China, but so far the two leaders had not been able to find a suitable date.
When asked about the status of the Huawei 5G contract, she said that data and security were the most important considerations, emphasizing that "it's not about vendor, it's not about country".
The same flight, NZ289, was turned back on a flight to China on Aug 24 past year, although an airline spokeswoman said that was due to an engineering issue, not a permitting one.
The incident marks yet another arbitrary move by Beijing to impose its ideology upon foreign companies, following the CAA order on April 24 of previous year that forced airlines to refer to Taiwan as part of China on their websites, which the U.S. White House called "Orwellian nonsense".
The airline apologised for disrupting the travel plans of customers and said it knew they would be "deeply disappointed and frustrated by the situation". A total of 44 airline companies relented to Chinese pressure and made adjustments to how Taiwan was labeled.