For about half a year, New Zealand was the envy of the world. No cases, two travel bubbles and the ability to move freely between Australia and the Cook Islands with no quarantine.
It was a look into the world's future. But one single case of Covid-19 plunged New Zealand back into level 4 lockdown.
The move came as a shock to the world.
Now, six days into nationwide lockdown, global media and officials have absorbed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's decision to continue the country's elimination strategy, and it's had a mixed response.
Here's how the world has reacted to New Zealand's lockdown - some of it scathing.
The Telegraph - How Jacinda Ardern's 'fortress NZ' strategy risks crumbling
That was the headline by the UK Telegraph's Louis Ashworth analysing New Zealand's current Covid-19 response.
While the Telegraph praised our ability to keep Covid deaths down, they described our current situation as like "taking a step into the past" and questioned whether the elimination strategy is sustainable.
"Toilet paper shortages. Compulsory masks. A nation enthralled by the movements of a single Covid-19 spreader.
"Watching New Zealand's current news cycle is like taking a step into the past.
"The so-called 'Auckland cluster' threatens to end a period of almost unbelievable control of the virus in the world's southernmost country.
"The country is now the last real holdout of the 'zero Covid' strategy shared with its near neighbour Australia, which has seen its own efforts fall apart amid similarly low vaccination rates.
"'We're almost on the cusp here,' says Sir Peter Gluckman, director at Koi Tū, a think tank at the University of Auckland and the country's former chief science adviser. 'Can we get the genie back in the bottle, and then hold out for long enough to get the population adequately vaccinated, and then open the borders?'"
The Telegraph also highlight New Zealand's painfully slow vaccine rollout.
"The low rates of inoculation show the shortfalls of the "wait and see" stance that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's government took last year. As international peers more blighted by the coronavirus scrambled to secure doses last autumn, Wellington was more ponderous, awaiting trial information and calling for worst-affected nations to be prioritised."
BBC - New Zealand pandemic strategy in doubt amid Delta spread
The BBC questioned whether New Zealand's pandemic response was suitable to move the country forward in to the next phase of dealing with the virus.
In a piece penned early this morning, the BBC said the arrival of Delta "does raise some big questions about the response".
Despite praising our initial response a year ago, they have highlighted the slow speed of the vaccine rollout.
"New Zealand had quashed earlier Covid outbreaks with rapid, strict lockdowns.
"The country was praised for its efforts, which effectively stopped the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly referred to New Zealand as 'our team of five million'.
"However, authorities recently announced a snap lockdown after one man tested positive in Auckland with the Delta variant.
"But critics have questioned the speed of the vaccine rollout. New Zealand has one of the lowest number of fully vaccinated people among the OECD - an international group of countries that are among the world's most prosperous economies. "
Telegraph - Poor Ardern, trapped in her arrogant zero Covid policy
In a scathing opinion piece for the Telegraph, Matthew Lesh called Ardern's move to level 4 "poetic justice".
"We now have vaccines. The ingenious jabs substantially reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from the virus. They do not mean zero risk or, for that matter, zero cases. But they change the calculation: elimination becomes a costly strategy with very limited benefit. What's the point of lockdowns and maintaining closed borders for a virus that, with vaccines in the mix, no longer causes much harm to individual people?
"New Zealand has not come to this realisation. It has fetishised 'zero risk' for the past 17 months and show little interest in updating its strategy.
"New Zealand's zero Covid strategy has had frightening consequences. A once-welcoming nation is turning into an isolated dystopia, where liberties are taken away in a heartbeat and outsiders are shunned. Living under the constant threat of disruptive and psychologically crushing lockdowns. Being closed off to the world, with citizens' ability to travel curtailed and foreigners largely prevented from entering. So much for the open, welcoming liberal nation projected by Ardern.
Lesh claims: "Ardern has shown little serious interest in protecting her people. New Zealand has fully vaccinated just one in five of its population, the second lowest in the OECD. It even shut down vaccination centres when it entered "level 4" restrictions this week. Lockdown first, foremost and forever."
AP - Strictest lockdown
That's how Associated Press' Nick Perry described our latest response to an outbreak, highlighting New Zealand's vastly different approach to Covid-19 compared to most of the world.
"The move into the strictest lockdown underscored the vastly different approach New Zealand has taken to the virus than most other nations, which are attempting to suppress its spread rather than eliminate it entirely."
AP also highlighted New Zealand's slow vaccination rollout.
New Zealand has also been slower than other developed nations to inoculate its population, leaving it vulnerable to outbreaks. Only 32 per cent of people have had at least one shot and 18 per cent are fully vaccinated, they wrote three days ago.
The New York Times added that fears of a Delta outbreak here had been "heightened" by the lack of jabs administered, noting that the first case detected had not been vaccinated.
UK politician Nigel Farage - 'Ardern has lost her marbles'
UK politician Nigel Farage weighed in on our lockdown on Twitter, saying "Jacinda Ardern has lost her marbles" and labelling New Zealand "the land of panic".
Daily Mail's Dan Wootton - Ardern's zero Covid fantasy never ending nightmare
Famous royal reporter Dan Wootton took aim at Ardern and her zero Covid strategy, saying everyone knows we "have to learn to live with" it.
New Zealand has just been plunged into a nationwide lockdown with all vaccinations cancelled because of one Covid case.
That's right, ONE case of a virus we all know we have to learn to live with.
Jacinda Ardern's Zero Covid fantasy is nothing short of a never ending nightmare.
"New Zealand has just been plunged into a nationwide lockdown with all vaccinations cancelled because of one Covid case.
"That's right, ONE case of a virus we all know we have to learn to live with.
"Jacinda Ardern's Zero Covid fantasy is nothing short of a never ending nightmare."