The bunting's up. The stadiums are ready. The teams have arrived. There is even - though I hardly dare believe it - a little bit of excitement growing in my cold, cold heart.
The rolling maul that is the 2011 Rugby World Cup is about to, well, roll right over the country and - whether you like it or not - there will be no getting out of its way.
It will be - All Black triumph or not - a celebration. It may even see the rather odd game that is rugby unite the country with the same sort of force with which it divided it, three long decades ago.
It remains to be seen whether the spring of 2011 turns out to be as shambolic - or, ultimately, as symbolic - as the winter of 1981, when the rather odd game of rugby turned this country into a basket case. But the 2011 World Cup - the first (and maybe last) time a post-apartheid South Africa competes in this tournament in this country - might be seen as some sort of coda to the sad events of 81. And so, in its way, was Rage; the last of TV One's Sunday Theatre New Zealand season.
This two-hour drama, co-written by the redoubtable Wellington cartoonist and playwright Tom Scott, was a noble piece of work. And one that had set itself an ambitious and almost impossible task: to explain, to document, to humanise and to dramatise a confused, complex moment in New Zealand history, the 81 Springbok tour. And for the best part, Rage succeeded.
Scott, I'm sure, chose his lens with care. The events of the winter 1981 were principally dramatised through the fictional (and probably unlikely) romance of a protester and an undercover copper sent to spy on the anti-tour movement. This meant that, ugly as the events, motivations and some of the key players might be, at its heart Rage was about something other than the increasingly nasty violence, a divided country and the protests against a repellent political system. This was ultimately the oldest yarns there is: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, love conquers all.
This was, mostly, an asset for the drama. If the real events, particularly for a younger audience, were too remote or too hard to comprehend, then the imagined love story carried you along, built as it was on nice performances from the lovers, Des (Ryan O'Kane) and Carol (Maria Walker). This was history, yes, but with a dozen red roses.
Those wanting knotty and serious history unadulterated by dewy eyes and bed scenes may well have baulked. But if the script had a frailty for me, it was when the need to explain to that know-nothing younger generation drifted into a lefty politics lecture.
Partly this was the fault of the need to service two audiences: those of us who remember 81 would understand just what was at stake (even if we've forgotten the finer details); and those who were not there had to be brought up to speed.
Mostly the history was cleverly worked in by the script, and by director Danny Mulheron's almost seamless (and at times extremely clever) blending of Scott's drama with TV and film footage of the real events. The playing-out of real and fictional scenes using a split screen was also particularly smart stuff.
Unfortunately the need to indoctrinate produced two terribly tinny and grating scenes, where Scott laid the message on so thick I choked a little: the final moments where an African leader (clearly echoing the real words of Mandela) inexplicably felt the need to explain to Carol, now a diplomatic protection officer, why 1981 was important to Africans; and the scene midway through, where Des told Carol, in a longish, expositional monologue, that what was happening was "a battle for the soul of New Zealand - a battle between the smug country we are and the more honest country we need to become". It was a declaration from a writer's hindsight, not a character's foresight, and it nearly killed the more subtle messages.
Still, as we embark on the ultimate celebration of rugby, Rage was a pretty decent reminder that sport has the power to divide us as well as unite.