"Where do you come from?"
(chuckle) "From Wellington, the dying city."
Or so the opening went for many a conversation on the latest lecturing "gig" on the P&O cruise ship Pacific Pearl.
This time, the passengers were mainly from New Zealand, and they all (even the Aucklanders) knew the joke.
Our Prime Minister, John Key (an Aucklander), declared not so long ago that Wellington is dying.
Dying! Almost dead!
Good lord! Our head of parliament dissing absolutely positively Wellington from his eyrie in the Beehive, which (though he had evidently forgotten) is in Wellington! Off with his own head, we say!
Well, the Dominion Post has decided to no longer take it as a joke. Today's front page is a huge cartoon of our cool little capital, with the headline ALIVE AND KICKING.
It's no time to be smug, the paper admits. Perhaps, to a certain extent, we do have our heads in the sand.
So let's have a good look at our gorgeous little city, they say. And it's the beginning of a six-part series, The Wellington Report, starting in this paper and on dompost.co.nz today.