As the Government weighs a move to level 1 in the latest easing of restrictions, it is increasingly also leaving its comfort zone.
The Covid-19 pandemic has dominated life and politics for months, enclosing the country in a four-tier box.
That ordered structure has given the authorities unusual control in the fight against the coronavirus, with justifications built on science and safety. It has enabled us to virtually eliminate Covid-19 with no new cases for 16 days.
But from the beginning there has been public chafing at the slow deliberate pace of our journey.
People, from shop owners and healthcare workers to pundits and political rivals, have pushed for action at every step. It is far from the easy-going attitude we are known for but probably reflects widespread and understandable anxiety. Some criticisms have resulted in actual adjustments.
As the international media and overseas health experts marvelled at our handling of a crisis, people here have carped at the Government's caution. Many have called for a quicker descent from level 4 measures. The Government's steady tread towards a transtasman travel bubble after winter is now under pressure. People here want it to happen sooner. Other countries want to be part of a bigger bubble. Greece and Japan have already said Kiwi travellers would be welcome.
For our leadership, level 1 represents a shift from battling an emergency to laying a track for what happens next in a less controlled environment. It is back to more random political reality, with individual parties electrified by the looming election. National has changed its leadership. Labour can see a path to victory as its lesser-polling partners fight for parliamentary survival.
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At some stage there needs to be a catching of breath and taking stock. It almost feels as though we have been too successful and the opportunity to make significant changes has gone begging.
We should at least have a thorough assessment of what we have learned from the pandemic for future shocks. Previous experience with Sars clearly helped some of our neighbours in Asia get on top of Covid-19 early. Perhaps new technology, workplace changes and public cooperation will allow our "team of 5 million" to swing back into action next time with little official prompting and without a harsh lockdown.
Key areas of vulnerability have been clear: the border, hospitals, nursing homes, public social gatherings, front-line work. A more targeted response could be possible in future.
Authorities, businesses, and workers will have to work out how to reduce their vulnerability to economic and health tremors.
At a personal level, having been through this experience, Kiwis will know what to do when the next virus threatens. We had useful advice hammered into us for months, which can be stored away. At the least, home emergency supplies will likely now include a few toilet rolls, a box of disposable masks and hand sanitiser with the usual water, tinned food and torches.