The appearance of All Black Ma'a Nonu at Premier House yesterday to give President Xi Jinping of China a No 8 All Black jersey was a light end to otherwise serious talks with Prime Minister John Key and a set of "deliverables".
Mr Xi joked that China might need to get the All Black over to China to help promote rugby. Mr Key was suitably reluctant for co-operation to go that far.
At the preceding press conference, Mr Key and Mr Xi announced a largely symbolic upgrade in the formal relationship between China and New Zealand - which, in name anyway, matches that with the US.
The new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will replace the Comprehensive Co-operative Relationship that has been in place between China and New Zealand since 2003.
The name is similar to the Strategic Partnership with New Zealand announced by Hillary Clinton in 2010 in the Wellington Declaration.
It appears that both China and the US are also competing for indirect support from New Zealand in regard to China's territorial disputes in the East and South China seas - and that both have won it.
When Mr Key visited President Barack Obama in June, the White House issued a statement saying: "In discussing the need for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve disputes, the two leaders rejected the use of intimidation, coercion and aggression to advance any maritime claims."
Injured All Blacks second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu with New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key,and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo / Mark Mitchell
And in a statement issued yesterday by Mr Key and President Xi, it said they "reaffirmed their commitment to respecting each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
President Xi flew back to Auckland last night where he and his wife, Madam Peng Liyuan, had dinner at Government House with Mr Key and his wife, Bronagh, after being shown around Government House gardens.
But after their formal talks yesterday, Mr Key told reporters he had raised the issue of human rights and Tibet with Mr Xi.
Mr Xi said through an interpreter: "China attaches tremendous importance to protecting and ensuring human rights. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China over the past few decades and more, since we launched reform in opening up China, China's human rights development has registered progress and the progress is there for everyone to see.
"As I often say, for all countries in the world, when it comes to human rights, there is no 'best' as there will always be 'better'.
"The protection and promotion of human rights is an ongoing process that will never stop."
President Xi brought a swag of ministers with him to New Zealand and many of them signed agreements yesterday with their New Zealand counterparts, including one which will make it easy for joint television productions between China and New Zealand to screen to huge audiences in China.
The New Zealand Film Commission yesterday also announced a dedicated $1 million fund to invest in feature film co-productions.
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae hosted a state lunch for the visitors with about 60 Chinese guests and 60 New Zealanders.
One Opposition MP, new Labour leader Andrew Little, attended.
Madam Peng had a doctorate of literature conferred on her by Massey University in Wellington.
Demonstrators, for and against, greeted President Xi outside Government House and Premier House with red banners of hero worship or the yellow protestations of Falun Gong.
President Xi will attend a mayoral forum and a business lunch in Auckland today.
State lunch menu at Govt House
• Tian of Waikanae crab and avocado, poached crayfish and tomato jelly
• Braised organic pork belly with buttered karengo, kumara fondant, moon clams and cocktail paua
• Neudorf sheep milk yoghurt panna cotta with manuka honey, kaffir lime and kiwifruit
10 initiatives signed yesterday
1. A Television Co-production Agreement allowing programmes co-produced by New Zealand and Chinese companies to be officially broadcast on Chinese TV, where potential viewing audiences are huge.
2. Easing immigration procedures for holders of Platinum and Diamond UnionPay credit cards - in lieu of employment and funds documentation.
3. An extension for the China working holiday scheme, which will enable Chinese working holidaymakers to work for the same employer for up to six months.
4. An arrangement on the mutual recognition of academic qualifications in higher education.
5. Establishing a Food Supervisory and Traceability Co-operation Programme between the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and the China Food and Drug Administration.
6. An arrangement between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the China National Tourism Administration to improve the tourist experience in both countries.
7. A new partnership between New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce.
8. An arrangement between New Zealand and China to engage more closely on environmental management issues, science and logistics around the Antarctic.
9. An agreement to work more closely on climate-change issues.
10. A memorandum of understanding to help Chinese investment in New Zealand's forestry sector.