This week's Nato summit was the first major gathering of world leaders attended in person by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern since the pandemic began more than two years ago.
Ardern is in demand overseas, and while she attended plenty of virtual summits while borders were closed, there's something about meeting people in person, particularly when you want to twist their arms about things like a trade deal.
Nato was a particularly efficient way to do this, with most leaders from Europe and North America in attendance.
For reporters, these meetings are an opportunity to witness some of the more unusual and human habits of often larger-than-life politicians.
French President Emmanuel Macron is, well, very French.
Greeting Ardern with typically Gallic bisous, his kisses on both of Ardern's cheeks were so energetic their bright peal, like the sound of peeling velcro, was clearly audible on radio reporters' relatively distant microphones.
Always good to chat with Prime Minister @JacindaArdern. For years now, we’ve been working together for Canadians and New Zealanders, and we continued to do just that at #NATOSummit – where we spoke about our support for Ukraine, climate action, and other shared priorities. pic.twitter.com/hTTtawBi3r— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 29, 2022
Though it's fair to say Europe has very much "moved on" from Covid-19, with Europeans displaying as much enthusiasm for masking as they do for appropriate beach attire, this is not so for Macron, whose germophobic zeal was on full display in his bilateral meeting with Ardern.
Before the meeting, Macron's staff each held open their hands for him to eagerly spray hand sanitiser on their expectant palms, like a post-pandemic Maundy Thursday.
The meeting concluded, reporters witnessed a waiter at the hotel the French delegation had commandeered rushing towards Macron's group at great speed, carrying a tray with almost a dozen cups of espresso. How French.
Ardern secured a meeting with Macron's only equal on the European stage, new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Recent New Zealand Prime Ministers enjoyed strong relations with his predecessor, long-serving chancellor Angela Merkel.
New Zealand media would love to have glimpsed the beginnings of a new relationship forming between Ardern and Shulz, but they were barred from the meeting - Shulz is apparently camera-shy (an official photograph was released later).
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was once (briefly) considered something of an Ardern bestie, but the pair have appeared to drift apart since those early years.
That was, at least, until this summit, at which Trudeau seemed especially keen to have some facetime with Ardern, greeting her with a big hug.
Meanwhile, there was some debate between the Prime Minister and the NZ Herald about the NZ Herald's description of her dinner with King Fillipe VI of Spain as "ritzy".
Speaking to media ahead of the dinner, Ardern looked in the direction of the Herald and said it was not, in fact, going to be a flash dinner – an obvious reference to the Herald's description.
The Herald argued that any meal hosted by a king in a palace was "ritzy" almost by definition.
"Even a breakfast?" Ardern countered.
Seeking to settle matters, the Herald hastily acquired accreditation for the pre-dinner photograph, and entered the palace with a bevy of Spanish-speaking photographers.
It took nearly 15 minutes of wandering through endless stairways and gilt-dripping antechambers of the Palacio Real, Europe's largest working palace, to find the room in which the photograph would be taken.
One room was decked with a chandelier the size of Russian President Vladimir Putin's meetings table.
Ardern was possibly a bit sensitive about scenes of extravagance overseas while the cost of living bites at home. But in terms of the argument in question, the Herald declares itself the winner.