"We're simply the best, better than all the rest…"
New Zealand has topped the Telegraph travel awards to be bestowed the title of "Greatest country on Earth" - for the seventh consecutive year.
It's a glowing endorsement from tens of thousands of Telegraph readers and travellers, and is certainly made more impressive by the length of time we have held the crown.
Apparently our winning appeal lies in our mix of "familiarity and escapism".
There is no doubt the accolade is more than just another feather in our cap.
Such international exposure offered by the likes of the Telegraph survey, and US late-night TV host Stephen Colbert's recent NZ visit, is potential tourism gold. It is significant free or relatively low-cost advertising for the country, as we face the reality our tourism boom appears to be over .
• NZ's Colbert publicity coup comes to an end after week-long run on The Late Show
• Late Show host Stephen Colbert's New Zealand Week: What did Americans think? And what about the PM?
• Anna Murray: The verdict on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: The Newest Zealander
• Stephen Colbert in New Zealand - Marmite, jandals and jokes about sausages
That is of huge concern, given only the sector recently overtook dairying to become our biggest export earner . It is also a major employer - significant in regional New Zealand.
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However, a slump in Chinese tourist numbers, in particular; increased international competition; and global uncertainty are all taking a toll on numbers of visitors coming to our shores.
There is no doubt some will greet the lower tourism numbers as something resembling relief. At its height, the boom was causing real headaches in some areas as our infrastructure struggled to cope with the mass influx. The issues caused up and down the country with increased numbers of freedom campers have certainly been a source of friction.
• What freedom campers are worth to New Zealand
• Kate Hawkesby: Freedom campers don't show New Zealand enough respect
• Defecating freedom campers cause a big stink at Otago's Smaills Beach
• Irresponsible freedom campers in Whangārei to be fined $200
There is no denying the risk of "overcooking" our best asset. We can pride ourselves on our relaxed, welcoming, generous Kiwi character - no small part of the attraction for visitors - but if we are struggling to keep our environment - the major drawcard - pristine, we are selling ourselves and our visitors short.
While it may give us warm fuzzies to have the world place little ol' New Zilund on a pedestal, we shouldn't let the accolade cloud our judgement or let us become complacent.
Visitors often see a more superficial view of a country and are perhaps more prepared to forgive us our faults. But perpetuating myths is another thing entirely.
Can we still, honestly, tell ourselves - let alone market to the world - that we are a clean, green 100% Pure New Zealand, for example, when we are among the highest producers of municipal waste in the developed world; many of our traditional watering holes are unswimmable; some of our drinking water supplies contaminated?
Are we really the "Greatest country on Earth" when about a quarter of Kiwi kids live below the poverty line, the rich/poor divide is widening frighteningly and a new generation of working poor is struggling to make ends meet in our supposedly egalitarian society? Are we "simply the best" given home ownership is now out of reach for many; entire families are living in cars; we have one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world; a growing mental health crisis; and one of the highest rates of violence against women?
Telegraph readers may love us, but does that crown really sit comfortably on us? We could let the praise go to our heads - or admit that what you see is not always what you get and work harder to actually deserve the title.