UPDATED 11.53AM The C-130 Hercules, which had declared a full emergency mid-flight, has landed safety at Whenuapai Airport, despite a small amount of blue smoke.
Three fire trucks were on the tarmac heading towards the aircraft.
Northern Fire Service shift manager Jaron Phillips earlier said crew onboard the plane declared an emergency after reporting pressurisation issues. There were 15 people on board
Emergency services, including seven fire engines, ambulance and police, were preparing for a possible crash landing at the RNZAF airbase.
Fire service spokesman Jaron Phillips said earlier that all emergency crews were stationed at the RNZAF airbase at a safe point.
A spokesman for Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said that the aircraft was flying north from Whenuapai when it developed pressurisation issues and turned back
Residents near the airbase said the weather was extremely cloudy with limited visibility.
The RNZAF operates five C-130 Hercules. It is a large aircraft capable of carrying up to 92 people, although it is also used for carrying freight.
The New Zealand Hercules fleet has recently been modernised, according to the Air Force website, "to ensure they last until 2015".
The original three Hercules in the fleet arrived in the country in 1965. Another two were acquired in 1969.