Where now for the America's Cup? That question is about much more than the venue of its next contest, and it's not just about sport's oldest trophy or the future of the event. The America's Cup is a litmus test of New Zealand's condition.
It always has been, ever since that first cheeky challenge at Fremantle in the summer of 1986-87. A small welfare state with watertight border restrictions to protect local jobs was finally facing its need to expose itself to international markets if it was to maintain a world class living standard.
That was not a democratic decision, most New Zealanders, including those in business at that time, thought we were too small, too far away to foot it with big rich countries. The decision was made by a young, newly elected and very courageous Labour Government.
It exposed the private sector to global competition and stood back, favouring no business over others, forcing them to give up lobbying governments for profit and invest instead in activities that could pay for themselves.
To just about everyone's surprise, the open economy took off with stunning success. The newly floated dollar did not sink, it soared. The stock market boomed. Financial entrepreneurs and foreign exchange dealers were the new glamour boys. When Australia took the America's Cup from America and brought it to Fremantle a young Kiwi merchant banker was drawn to the challenge.
The "plastic fantastic" was an eye-opener. Who knew nobody else built fibreglass boats? But later that year the gloss went off the economy. Stockmarkets crashed, New Zealand's more than most. When the America's Cup came around again, the country was deep in recession.
Four years later, 1995, things were looking up. Inflation had been contained, the Government Budget was recording surpluses which we'd thought impossible. At San Diego Black Magic won the America's Cup. "Unbelievable," the winners said.
Sir Peter Blake came home and pressed for public money to provide a base for the defence. Auckland's council built the Viaduct Basin, a timely lesson that governments could still provide good infrastructure.
After a successful defence in 1999 our leading sailors jumped ship, taking their knowledge and skills to richer sponsors in bigger economies. They were doing no more than many of our best and brightest in other fields but we felt small and poor again.
When the deserters took the prize away in 2003 the losers asked Helen Clark's Government to pay their salaries to "keep the team together". It would be like paying the All Blacks to resist temptation from rugby's rich sponsors overseas but Clark agreed to it and the rot set in.
Team NZ ceased to be seen as an enterprise that could pay its own way and became saddled with public expectations that were sometimes at odds with its ambitions, like now.
It felt like a million of us were crowded on the Auckland waterfront on Wednesday evening, craning for a glimpse of the sleek boat and sailors that had won the Cup again. We cheered, took photos. The kids put on black shirts that said, "Emirates fly better". The words "New Zealand" were nowhere on the boat.
Then news came through from the Government that the team would be "supported to stay together" for the next defence, as long as it was held in New Zealand. On both counts that offer reflects a short-sighted, if popular, view of the national interest.
The modern America's Cup is an industry largely developed by New Zealanders and dominated by them. Like any successful enterprise, it brings spin-off industries to the country. But it can benefit us more if it is not confined to a country our size.
We tell ourselves the world is watching, but it's not really. Team NZ is at the same stage the kiwifruit industry reached when it developed a tasty new cultivar. Fast foiling yachts have proved to be a fine product that could win a worldwide audience larger than yachting enthusiasts as it does here.
Many New Zealanders could not understand the decision to give away the kiwifruit secret at the time and some might still think it was a mistake. But kiwifruit would not have become the export earner it is today had it remained a little-known local delicacy.
New Zealand still leads the world in kiwifruit improvements, it can continue to lead the world in foiling yacht design too if it shares the spectacle. The event needs all the promotion that comes with hosting it.
A defence in England next year is a fine idea, though I think Luna Rossa deserves a home rematch first. Jimmy Spithill and his team have shown that even in these flying boats, clever match tactics can produce a contest worth watching.
If we keep it to ourselves we'll be the loser.