It was just a day or so after the 2002 Bali bombing.
On a sultry night at an Auckland hotel, Mike Moore held a hushed audience in the palm of his hand as he talked about how globalisation was lifting people out of poverty, the rise of China and his work at the World Trade Organisation — all against a background of heightened terrorism risk in the wake of the Bali attack and 9/11 a year previous.
Moore was eloquent. Inspirational. Every bit the international statesman, undercut with raw emotion that those opposed to globalisation would use bombs on innocent tourists — including Kiwis — to ram home their protest.
New Zealand business leaders had wanted to honour Moore's contribution on the global stage. They felt his country did not really know about — or appreciate — his singular achievements as leader of the global trading body which has been so central to the fortunes of a small exporting nation, but importantly, also to the developing world.
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They also felt it was time old wounds were publicly healed. That the politician who still held a lingering sense of grievance over the way he was unceremoniously dumped as Labour's leader after coming within a whisker of winning the 1993 election should be publicly acclaimed at home by colleagues — particularly Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Clark and Moore were truly magnanimous.
It was one of those very special occasions where old enmities and frictions were cast aside and both these very singular politicians could acknowledge their shared history as Labour leaders and the very best of each other.
Globalisation — of which Moore was one of the world's leading advocates — was a constant backdrop to his international career.
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The pitched "Battle of Seattle" in 1999 overshadowed his tenure as leader of the World Trade Organisation, as anti-globalisation protesters brought that major WTO meeting to a standstill.
As Moore said later: "Never before had open trade within a rules-based system done so much to lift living standards and increase opportunity; yet never before had the persistence of poverty and exclusion been so glaring ... In Seattle, the intersection of these interests became the site of a major pile-up, a collision, a clash of priorities and imperatives."
Moore was not deterred. He went on to oversee China's accession to the WTO and the subsequent launch of the Doha Development Round, and also fundamental reform within the global trading body which led to more women holding senior roles.
Moore's notion of "globalisation" was not an anarchistic one. It had to be subject to a rules-based trading system.
As the title of his first book written just after his three years as WTO director-general declared, he was for A World without Walls. In 2009, he followed with Saving Globalization: Why Globalization and Democracy Offer the Best Hope for Progress, Peace and Development.
His energy and capacity for original thought was prodigious. Qualities that stood him in good stead when he was later posted to Washington DC by Sir John Key's Government as New Zealand's ambassador to the United States.
The international public servant who had charmed, cajoled and bullied presidents, prime ministers, trade ministers and diplomats to get behind the subsequent launch of the Doha Development Round was delighted to once again be asked to make a contribution on New Zealand's behalf. His mission was to continue to build support within the Obama Administration for the Trans-Pacific Partnership which former Labour Trade Minister Phil Goff and former Republican US Trade Representative Susan Schwab had launched in New York in 2008.
He flourished in DC, taking part in think tank debates and promoting not just New Zealand's cause, but also that of regional trade.
Two decades on from Seattle — where a state of emergency had to declared — Moore's idealistic "world without walls" is now under siege from the United States, the very country whose strenuous advocacy for his appointment as WTO director-general over the rival candidacy of former deputy prime minister of Thailand Supachai Panitchpakdi ensured Moore got the job, if only for three years of the standard six-year term.
There are questions over whether China has lived up to its WTO commitments. Populism is on the rise and the forces of economic integration have less momentum.
Anyone who may have thought Moore was the "Americans' man" at the WTO would have thought again as he later corralled trade ministers from 140 countries to launch the Doha Round talks, aimed at lifting millions of people from poverty and boosting the world's tottering economy.
The ministers agreed to begin "broad and balanced" negotiations on cutting farm subsidies and industrial tariffs and tackling a host of other barriers to trade. But after Moore stepped down, the talks lost momentum.
Moore has been perhaps the most prominent of a cadre of leading New Zealand international public servants including former UN Development Programme leader Helen Clark and former Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Don McKinnon.
It's become de rigueur for New Zealand commentators to focus on Moore's occasional lapses into word salad. As Moore said in his final address at the WTO: "One ambassador recently expressed regret that I was leaving, saying she was just beginning to understand my English. 'Exactly the reason I should go', I replied. And don't worry, no one in New Zealand understood me either".
The arguments about the benefits and drawbacks of global trade continue, but the international fraternity has lost one of its more forthright champions.