New Zealand has been through a year of upheaval and reassessment, and that's far from over.
The Covid-19 pandemic put stress tests on all countries and showed their character, strengths and weaknesses.
New Zealand's approach at the top level was to avoid as many deaths and serious infections from the coronavirus as possible, while also providing support to businesses.
To achieve that, people have put up with a lot of restrictions and many have suffered setbacks. Overall it has been a slog.
In some other countries, people's health seemed less of a priority, and economic and political considerations clouded the basic approach. One of the many lessons of the pandemic is that ideas pushed overseas may not be a good fit here.
In New Zealand, traditional Kiwi values of fairness and equality essentially held sway.
But lately the news has been full of items that have cast doubt on whether those values still hold as strong a grip as Kiwis might imagine.
With the focus now more on the vaccine rollout and economic pressures, there's something of a values stress test underway as the pandemic's impact is felt in different areas.
The new housing policy could adjust a market of fast spiralling prices - in part linked to extra demand from returnees over the past year. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said they were trying to "tilt the playing field towards first-home buyers".
As the Herald editorial put it last week, without correction one possibility "is that we entrench a deep social divide, following the brutal path of countries where the middle class lives and works behind the security fences of gated communities".
Home-owning has traditionally been seen here by workers as a way of compulsory saving and getting ahead - through buying and selling advantageously or renting out.
But it has become much harder to get into the market, compared with back in the day when you could get a helping hand from the Bank of Mum and Dad for a deposit. It is important to keep those dreams within reach for all.
Otherwise more young people will chase opportunities and dollars overseas. The wave of returnees could easily reverse once the pandemic subsides.
The suggestion that New Zealand should aim for a 'high-value' tourism market after the pandemic seems to run counter to how we have traditionally seen and presented ourselves.
We are known for being welcoming, down-to-earth, and living in a place where anyone with a backpack and hiking boots can experience freedom and adventure in the outdoors.
A lot of what is appealing about the country is tied up with nature and cultural authenticity: enjoying the beautiful settings and relaxed lifestyle, with fresh food, and access for everyone to long stretches of uncrowded beaches and bush.
Specifically aiming for a high-spending class of tourist with higher fees to match could risk spreading a reputation of the country as an unfair rip-off.
It's crucial to keep an eye on the big picture - what's important, how we see ourselves and how others see us.
Top rugby players appear to have their eye on the ball by questioning a major commercial deal out of concerns it could ruin the team's relationship with fans.
Some things are simple: The All Blacks' emotional link with their public is the root of the team's success. Everything flows from that. Money can be raised in different ways, but you don't mess with what has worked for more than a century.
It's still important to battle for a New Zealand where people come first, and all get a fair go.