From an opening test match that followed such a predictable path as to be dubbed a process of confirmation, All Blacks coach Ian Foster still managed to produce a moment of genuine revelation.
The head coach, who has been a selector for the national team since 2012, says he can't recall a time in those last nine years when there has been such fierce internal debate about the possible make up of the All Blacks best side.
Typically, the All Blacks have at least half a team of non-negotiables – players the merits of whom it would be faintly if not entirely fatuous to debate.
This is not how things are, however. There are household names aplenty, yet not all of them are certainties to be deemed first choice and nor is it yet obvious how all the component parts of this All Blacks squad can be best put together.
If we are talking about certainties, the list is not long at all: captain Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith and the job share pair of Dane Coles and Codie Taylor.
Beyond that, it's possible to run differing arguments on multiple fronts that could end up with vastly different looking All Blacks sides.
Right now, Brodie Retallick sits as an unknown as he tries to settle back into the higher intensity and physicality of rugby in this part of the world.
How to set up the back row sits as another major avenue of discussion, as does the preferred midfield combination and the best balance of the back three. And then there is the almost impossible task of choosing between Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett at No 10.
This is why this Pasifika series carries greater weight and significance inside the team than it does for a public that, while deeply appreciative of having a test programme as opposed to not having one in these difficult times, can sense the lack of competition and occasion.
For Foster, though, the series is a chance to make a number of key decisions ahead of the Bledisloe Cup next month and develop a clearer - if maybe not a clear or definitive - idea about his best side.
"I would say in my time with the All Blacks there are more positions that we are debating for a long, long time," he said.
"So, this series is very important for us from that perspective. We have got some big calls to make but we'll worry about those calls after we see these three games. She is pretty competitive."
The 102-0 romp against Tonga didn't necessarily throw up much in the way of the unknown so much as confirm and solidify a level of intelligence already possessed by the selectors.
What most likely jumped out at them in terms of giving them something new to ponder was the influence Damian McKenzie was able to wield as a playmaking fullback.
He has long established he's a player with an eye for the unthinkable – that he's a high stakes roller prepared to take risks in the way he plays – risks which don't always lead to rewards.
But against Tonga, he showed a maturity and composure that didn't curtail his natural exuberance or restrict his natural instincts.
He knitted a pragmatic thread into his magical web and laid a strong case as to what he could bring against top-flight opposition if he's selected at fullback.
"Yeah, I am quite pleased with Damian," was Foster's view. "I thought he looked calm. I think in the last few months his decision-making at the back has been really accurate and he's gone from being a guy who just did the dazzling runs and getting some wrong, to now he is distributing, he is kicking well, he's giving us that two-sided attack that we love to have. I thought he should be pretty happy with what he did."
Foster will want to see what sort of impact Jordie Barrett can have at fullback at some stage in this Pasifika series, knowing that the youngest sibling of Taranaki's royal family is equally at home on the wing.
Sevu Reece will also be thrust into action but what became feasible to imagine after the test at Mt Smart is that the All Blacks' best back three could end up being Will Jordan and Barrett on the wings and McKenzie at fullback.
The only other significant new intelligence to emerge from the romp at Mt Smart is that Quinn Tupaea has the temperament to handle the pressure of test football.
There was a testing opening 10 minutes where he learned the hard way that no matter who is in a Tongan jersey, they will know how to T-bone anyone rash enough to let them.
Once he'd been crunched a couple of times, though, Tupaea looked the part – decisive, clear and simple, and a strong candidate to be involved in the Bledisloe Cup.