No one deserves an extended break more than Ashley Bloomfield.
He's had very few breaks since the start of the pandemic, and probably since he took over as director general of health in 2018.
That was in the wake of his predecessor Chai Chuah, who presided over an embarrassing Budget blunder that saw $38 million wrongly allocated to DHBs.
It's widely viewed that Bloomfield did very well in very trying times - even before Covid hit. He inherited a basket case of a Health Ministry that had innumerable moving parts - which often didn't talk to each other - and a mentality that it knew best and didn't need to consult anyone else.
The Covid results speak for themselves.
New Zealand kept the virus mostly at bay while most of the rest of the world burned, and when it couldn't be kept at bay any longer, the population was already highly vaccinated and dealing with a less deadly variant.
This has contributed to New Zealand's per capita fatality rate being the lowest in the OECD. In fact, in the first two years of the pandemic, life expectancy in New Zealand increased while there was a net decline in excess mortality.
Not that all of that is attributable to one man. But it's not hard to imagine different outcomes if the ministry was in the hands of someone else. He deserves all the praise and well-wishes he gets.
Nor has it been drama-free.
Bloomfield has had to front failures - though he has always refused to use that term - in many areas where the Beehive made demands and the ministry fell short.
There was the testing debacle in 2020 when Cabinet declared that all border-facing workers would be regularly tested, but nearly two months later most of them still hadn't been.
There was the loose application of the rules when two sisters were allowed to leave MIQ before being tested, and then later tested positive. It then took the ministry a week to find out how many other people - more than 50 - had been allowed to leave MIQ without a test.
And there was the glacially slow pace to adopt saliva testing, build and stress-test contact-tracing capacity, order rapid antigen tests, share information with Māori health providers so they could do their job as well as possible, and even have a post-elimination plan at all.
Questions were asked about whether Bloomfield, a clinician who specialised in public health medicine and an all-around nice guy, had the managerial chops to bust heads when he needed to.
But those questions were never asked by the public.
The level of adoration for Bloomfield was never more on display than at a conference for GPs in Wellington last August, where Health Minister Andrew Little introduced the latest update for the health system overhaul and was dragged across the coals during questions from the floor.
Many of those questions could also have been directed at Bloomfield, who followed Little's presentation. But when the mics hit the floor for the director general, there was nothing but praise for saving lives - and even a request for a selfie.
His level of national celebrity even became somewhat politicised, when the Opposition raised questions about why the Prime Minister needed Bloomfield at her side for every media conference, even the ones where alert level decisions weren't being announced.
The subtext was that Jacinda Ardern was taking advantage of any shine that may have been rubbing off from the glorified public servant beside her.
It isn't hard to see why Bloomfield wants to cut short his term.
Having potentially thousands of lives hanging on your decisions would weigh heavily on anyone.
He has also spoken of the anxiety and self-doubt during the earlier stages of the pandemic, and in facing near-daily press conferences.
"I had many mornings, especially early on in the pandemic, when I'd get up and think, 'Gosh, can I really do this? I wish this wasn't happening,'" he said during one Q&A session.
An open question is whether the overhaul of the health system contributed to his decision, though Bloomfield has only said that it's a good time to leave, given the ministry's changing role.
That role will be an oversight position, focused on strategy, policy, and monitoring health outcomes across the country.
Running the health system will fall to Health NZ, while the Māori Health Authority will try to ensure the new system reduces health inequities for Māori.
Being at the forefront of this kind of reshuffling of an already complex system doesn't appeal to many.
"It's going to get messy. The dynamic between the ministry, Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority is 'strained'. Major power games," one health insider told me.
No one will begrudge Bloomfield his decision to leave early.
But given the trust and reverence he has built up over the past two years, there's probably no one better placed to shepherd in the health reforms than him.