It comes as the airline's looking to come back from pandemic losses.
The flight will take 16 hours and 15 minutes to get to New York, while the return journey is one hour and 20 minutes longer due to the difference in the jet streams.
It will be the fourth-longest flight currently operating in the world – but it's not far behind the winner, Singapore to New York, which takes nearly 19 hours.
The route will be flown by the airline’s 787-9 Dreamliner and takes over the flagship flight number NZ1 from the old London route.
There is capacity for 275 passengers tended by 17 crew on board, made up of 13 cabin crew and four pilots working in shifts.
Economy fares one way next week start at around $1400, while business class starts at around $8500.
Passenger and ex-Air NZ staff member, Richard, said he's happy to be onboard the inaugural flight.
"There's only ever one - there was supposed to be one two years ago, but that didn't happen we all know why," he told 1News before take-off.
"I'm just proud of the airline, always have been, one of my workers actually text me and said I'm loading your plane.
"Looking forward to it."
Air New Zealand's 'Visit Tomorrow' activation (Source: Supplied)
Ahead of the AUK-NYC route launching, Air New Zealand hosted an interactive experience that virtually transported New Yorkers to New Zealand.
The Visit Tomorrow experience enabled New York locals to speak with the airline's cabin crew and discover Kiwi hospitality through a 14-foot LED screen located at Hudson Yards' Public Square and Gardens.
Air New Zealand's 'Visit Tomorrow' activation. (Source: Supplied)
The experience also featured a sneak peek at Air New Zealand's Skynest, the world's first sleep pods in the sky for economy travellers, which is launching in 2024.