Tony Blair flew across the Tasman and back yesterday, with a brief stop at Eden Park to speak at a lunch, but his wife didn't bother to leave Australia.
The former British Prime Minister's visit for the paid corporate engagement was fleeting, but still featured a legion of police officers and a series of bumbling sideshows.
Most notable were a protest with recycled placards and a lone stadium security officer at the gate, who refused entry based on whether you held a camera or a notepad.
The event itself, after the price of admission was halved, drew a sell-out crowd of almost 260 to hear Mr Blair's lessons on leadership.
Getting there was something of a struggle for everyone.
For Mr Blair, it took an international flight from Australia, the Southern Hemisphere country he admitted, after some prodding, he was "fond" of.
The rest had to brave an embarrassing walk past jeering peace activists.
About 20 men and women, led by veteran rabble-rouser John Minto, camped outside Eden Park chanting, "Blood on your hands!" and "Shame!"
A trickle of businessmen and women passed by, mostly unperturbed. Radio host and writer Kerre Woodham was one of the few to react, after she copped some grief: had she come to see a war criminal?
"Having lunch, actually," Woodham replied.
For media, there was a blanket refusal of entry. An Eden Park security guard waved through anyone in a suit or dress, but refused to budge or even call his supervisor when a member of the media wanted in.
"No more media," he said.
After 30 minutes of phone calls with event organisers - who had accredited a Herald photographer and reporter to cover the event - entry was granted only to reveal one radio reporterand a photographer inside.
The tables in the spacious banquet hall were decked with 22-page menus - which had 19 pages of ads but no choice of food to order.
But Mr Blair himself soon walked in, flanked by three minders, and promised to "define the world today" and answer questions about anything - within reason.
He said politics had moved beyond left and right, and the question today was whether you were open to globalisation or not.
Some people saw "people of a different race or different colour as threatening your own identity", but the West should be confident about its values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, Mr Blair said.
He was asked about the scandal raging around media mogul Rupert Murdoch, with whom he had a close relationship.
Mr Blair said he had not been allowed to have a cellphone while he was Prime Minister, and was now grateful for it.
He also ventured what advice he would give to the embattled Mr Murdoch.
"The way the modern world works, whether you are the Government or a company, anybody today can be hit by a full frontal attack," Mr Blair said.
"You have to get to the facts and admit to the facts that need to be admitted, but then you need a narrative on how you get out of this situation."
In a chatty exchange with the host of the lunch, Mr Blair was asked where his wife was - Australia - then, jokingly, if he was fond of Australia.
"Uh" - Mr Blair paused - "Yes, I'm afraid that admission has to be wrung from me... But I'm very happy to be here too."
As he left the $500-a-seat lunch, there were questions about whether he would have the time to meet the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister as scheduled.
He was due back across the Tasman that evening for another engagement.