Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's first visit to the White House on Tuesday had a bumpy run-up, but the meeting with US President Joe Biden should go well.
That the White House managed to shoehorn Ardern into Biden's schedule at all after scrapping an earlier slot because of Ardern's recent Covid-19 is a show of goodwill by the US.
Presidents do not have many holes in their schedule, and Biden is now in the midst of dealing with the Texas school shooting. Yet a second meeting slot for Tuesday (US Time) was found.
From what was seen of early interactions between Biden and Ardern, he was warm to her. He was also warm about New Zealand when he visited in 2017.
The meeting with Vice-President Kamala Harris is also significant.
There may even be something in the meeting for them as Biden tries to show he means it when he talks about engaging with the Indo-Pacific and tries to respond to calls for tighter gun laws after the shootings in Buffalo and Texas.
The response from students at Harvard University when Ardern spoke about New Zealand's ban on military-style weapons was a long and loud standing ovation.
Gun reform is notoriously difficult in the US - but it won't hurt Biden among his constituency to be seen with Ardern at such a time.
Ardern will go in with a wish list - the top of which is for the US to rejoin the CPTPP trade deal.
Ardern's meeting is unlikely to be the game-changer on that, but it will add her voice to those of other CPTPP countries trying to convince the US if it wants to have economic influence in the region, the CPTPP is the way to get it.
The less tangible gains for Ardern are also critical.
The White House visit means Ardern has a chance to get the relationship with the US back on the same footing it was with Sir John Key and Barack Obama. She did not have - or necessarily want - that under Donald Trump's presidency.
It could also get New Zealand more firmly onto the US radar as it goes about rebuilding its influence in the region - or at least stop it slipping off altogether.
When Ardern was in New York on the Late Show, Stephen Colbert asked a very pertinent question about the Quad grouping, a defence and security alliance between the US, Australia, Japan and India.
"Do you guys ever go and say 'do you want to make it a Quint?'"
Ardern brushed the question off by pointing to the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, of which New Zealand is a part.
But it is a question that will be at the back of her mind as she prepares for the White House visit.
The question is whether NZ is in danger of being left out or at least sitting in the back seat as the US sets about rebuilding its influence in the region.
That will bring into play the issue of China.
Quad is not the only new group of countries the US has formed recently. There is the Aukus grouping - Australia, UK and the US.
The US goal is to sideline China and instead build up its own network of partners in the same region to try to squeeze China out.
That contest ramped up in the past week with the news China was openly courting about 10 of the Pacific nations and seeking to form a trade and security bloc with them.
That will have sent shivers up the spine of New Zealand and Australia – and the US.
All of that has some, including Sir John Key, worrying other countries will be forced to pick a side: China or the US.
If it was a black-and-white decision, New Zealand would be with the US.
But that is something Ardern does not particularly want to spell out. The US is New Zealand's third-largest trading partner - but China is our first by some margin.
That is courtesy of a free trade agreement that NZ has no immediate prospects of securing from the US.
Biden's newly hatched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework lacks one critical ingredient of free trade agreements: free trade. It does not include tariff removal.
Those countries are concerned Biden sees it as an alternative to the CPTPP - not a complement.
Ardern has already started her pitch on that - or at least trying to make the most out of IPEF by talking about non-tariff measures.
After announcing the visit in Boston yesterday she noted the current shortage of infant milk formula in the US as its domestic supply faltered.
She said Fonterra was able to fill that shortfall - but that was difficult because of regulatory barriers.
NZ cannot afford to simply dismiss it - it could be seen as a snub and it cannot miss out if it does turn from conversations into something more concrete.
Ardern has leaned towards the US without going far enough to rub China up the wrong way.
That included agreeing swiftly to be a part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, despite its inadequacies.
Ardern has also responded to Biden's call for countries to do as much as they can for the war in Ukraine - the response swiftly moved from humanitarian aid and sanctions to troop deployments and money for missiles. New Zealand is also among a group of "like-minded countries" boycotting Russia at international summits.
At the recent Apec trade ministers' meeting, Damien O'Connor walked out while Russia's trade minister was talking and boycotted a gala dinner.
But New Zealand's criticism of China has been far more nuanced than Australia's - it has long managed to walk a line between the two countries.
Ardern has voiced generalised concern about the potential militarisation of the Pacific and China's overt attempts to line up Pacific countries on its side. She says it is something she wants the Pacific Islands countries to resolve together.
She answers questions about New Zealand and China by saying New Zealand bases its relationships on values - but sidesteps answering questions about where China sits in that calculation.
Some fear continuing that way as China flexes its influence in the Pacific is risking New Zealand being relegated to a bit-player in the US strategy.
Ardern will be hoping Biden has taken more notice of what she has said than what she hasn't said.