It wasn't her fault, but Jacinda Ardern's self-proclaimed "bang for your buck" programme for Singapore and Japan got off to a fizzer of a start.
Having established much pre-trip "open for business" fanfare, the Prime Minister was finally on overseas soil for the first time in years, and her first task was opening a breakfast panel on digital disruption and sustainability.
She took the stage briefly, talking up the importance of rekindling New Zealand-Singapore relations after a pandemic-induced hiatus on foreign leaders' trips, and then sat down as the panel members discussed all things sustainable at length.
The audience of business leaders seemed bored. This was all but confirmed when it came time for questions from the floor, a request which was met with excruciating silence.
It was filled eventually, but by the even-more-excruciating sound of a creaky door, which prompted some muffled laughter.
Ardern intervened, ending the awkwardness by asking a question herself – what is a nation's role in engaging more young people in the sector because the industry was growing quicker than the talent pool.
When the answer traversed parenting, Ardern urged Singaporean parents to send their kids to New Zealand for a gap year.
Just not too many if they want to be on working holiday visas.
Ardern's subsequent announcement of expanding the number of such visas available to Singaporeans - from 200 to 300 - was hardly akin to rolling out the "New Zealand is open" red carpet.
But it's not surprising, given that the previous maximum of 200 people had been more than sufficient to cater for Singaporean demand right up until just before the pandemic.
An event more befitting of the Great New Zealand Reconnection happened later that night at the atmospheric Cloud Forest, with the unveiling of a stunning Māori carving signifying a doorway between the two countries.
The other glitch in the Prime Minister's travels was not unexpected. Three people in the delegation tested positive for Covid-19 after PCR tests on arrival.
Ardern was not one of them, nor was Trade Minister Damien O'Connor, and no one would have put their hand up for the trip without knowing that they might be prevented from entering Japan.
But it somewhat overshadowed the announcement of a new focus on climate change for New Zealand-Singapore collaboration, particularly on low emissions long-haul flights and shipping.
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong then stole the limelight in the joint press conference with Ardern. He met US President Joe Biden last month and, while Ardern's response to questions about the US joining the CPTPP has been necessarily diplomatic, his was refreshingly frank.
"It's just off the table because their politics does not make it possible at present," he said.
How to draw the US into further engagement in the Pacific is given more impetus with reports of the China-Solomons security pact being signed.
Lee was similarly frank about China and its relationship with Russia.
"We do watch the situation in Ukraine, and how that will impact China-Russia relations, and therefore China-US relations. And we both have a vested interest in China-US relations being stable, and not being complicated or further sharpened by hostility or lack of trust on both sides.
"We hope that wisdom will prevail and [the conflict in] Ukraine will not make things more complicated."
Singapore and New Zealand are both pretty small players in the global picture, but they do show how a relationship has strengthened because of the pandemic.
Singapore has been key for New Zealand because 20 per cent of our exports and 25 per cent of our imports come through Singapore. This highlights how fragile global supply chains can be, and the importance of making them more resilient.
That, along with sustainable aviation, will be one of Ardern's focus areas today as she tries to get more bang for her buck.