Over the years, Auckland has often been an object of scorn and derision for the rest of the country.
The derision runs even deeper into enmity in parts. Some say the further south you go, the warmer the welcome. It has long been the opposite for Aucklanders.
This week, FlexiToursNZ director Philippa Dean pointed out tourism hotspots such as Queenstown and Rotorua have received the most support since New Zealand shut its borders to international tourists, but Auckland tourism was on the brink of collapse.
"Whilst Kiwis are travelling around, Aucklanders are supporting the whole of New Zealand, the rest of New Zealand is not supporting Auckland."
The sight of Aucklanders heading out to the airport for southern sojourns must be a bitter one for Deans and others in her sector.
Since Dean's plea was reported, some have said the 64-year-old should redeploy in another industry or even retire. But this misses the point.
First of all, when did the "team of five million" being kind specifically exclude the 1.65 million people in the Auckland isthmus?
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Prior to Covid-19 shutting the gate, almost three quarters of international tourists - about 2.6 million - landed at Auckland, a substantial amount of them never venturing further into the country. Auckland is essentially the front door through which most tourists will judge this country, and consider continuing on or winging straight out again without wasting too much of their precious vacation.
If Auckland's tourism sector has been allowed to collapse while the rest of the industry around the country entertains Auckland holidaymakers, what will New Zealand have to greet international visitors when our borders reopen, albeit to select bubbles?
Auckland tourism operators - such as Deans - are also huge contributors to delivering guests of the Hobbiton of Matamata, the mudpools of Rotorua and the glow-worms of Waitomo. These attractions will also wither if the Auckland sector fails.
Well-travelled people often comment on how friendly and likeable people are in their own locales. Folks from around the country might well discover the same of Aucklanders, should they give them a chance. They would be doing the whole country a favour in doing so.