The Prime Minister's fence gleamed like a grin.
On Saturday, voters painted the town - and also the country - red. It was a landslide win to Labour, but in the early morning-after sun, it was just the grandfathers doing victory laps around Jacinda Ardern's Sandringham home.
They pushed 2-year-old Neve down the street and past that freshly washed fence (a bucket, not a hose, the city's still subject to water restrictions) while the neighbours on the corner erected the only billboard that counts in Auckland when there's a Bledisloe Cup match looming: Parking, $10.
The Prime Minister's local coffee house screamed like a baby. So many babies, bouncing on knees at Crave Cafe, where you'd think the first punters of the day would be talking elections, but were instead ordering Benediction ($21 with free-range bacon).
Count those blessings via your social media feed. Twitter is an echo chamber, but the armchair statisticians were trumpeting every single electorate in the South Island had given their party vote to Labour and that it was now possible to travel from Wellington to the East Cape without driving through a National held electorate.
Overheard on the internet: "Pinch me, are the farmers voting Labour?". And "I can't tell if my antidepressants are finally working or if this genuine joy".
Officially the most Queer Parliament in the world, reported the Rainbow Greens. Not one, but two Pasifika MPs in Palmerston North. Chloe Swarbrick on the late night DJ decks at Whammy Bar and slamming it in Auckland Central for the Greens. Rawiri Waititi taking Waiariki and putting the Māori Party back in Parliament. David Seymour with the ability to hold an Act Party caucus meeting for the first time; Winston Peters with not a soul across the threshold.
World leaders sent their congrats. The Dalai Lama praised Ardern's "courage and wisdom and leadership". National's Deputy Gerry Brownlee was trounced in Ilam and summed up his sentiments in a single word. "&%#$," he said on Twitter, but it turned out to be a parody account run by comedian Guy Montgomery. "A terrible night for Slytherin," said Raybon Kan, another comedian.
In Nelson, Nick Smith conceded in front of a doctored National campaign slogan: "Strong Tea, Better Jam, More Scones" and it was suggested these were, perhaps, policies for all of New Zealand.
Actual morning tea and still no sign of Ardern. At the Central Flea Market, 1km from her house, Kevin Barratt sold "Judylicious and Cindylicious" merchandise - badges and T-shirts featuring the leaders' faces.
"I intentionally made them beautiful," he said. "There is too much ugliness in the world."
This is not his day-job. He's a registered nurse. "This was a labour - and national - of love."
On the morning after the first MMP election to give a single party power to govern alone, more people were buying Jacinda than Judith.
The man at the stall selling antiques and bric-a-brac wanted $150 for a battered sign that said "The Press". It might have hung in Parliament, he reckoned. He was a salesman, a raconteur. Did the election go his way?
"I'm one of the vote changers," he said. "First time I've gone red in my life."
He did, he said, because of a $575 a week wage subsidy during the Covid lockdown and also, because he trusted Ardern. Next time? "We'll see how we go ..."
How we were going was quite nicely and politely, really, except for that one cafe owner on Twitter who feared he'd be paying his workers $20 an hour by the next election. More important questions: who was the guy in the security detail outside the Auckland Town Hall with the handlebar moustache to rival the hashtag sparked by 2017's bearded "hipsterspook".
The country was joking, commiserating or just getting on with it (Denee Skinner learned to crochet during lockdown. She sold string bikini tops at the Balmoral market but last night she worked in a bar and "it was really quiet - everyone was at home watching the election. Can't you just find out in the morning?"). But then the sun went behind a cloud. That old 1pm anxiety. Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed a new - but hopefully contained - case of community transmission of Covid in a port worker.
Ardern finally appeared. She smiled. She took questions. She said she had not had a sleep-in, because "I was up, dealing with Covid". And it's possible an entire nation, including those that didn't vote for her, wished she'd finished that sentence with "Neve". Or even "Winston".