Dining on Bug's Bunny's oven-roasted crown jewels in the Puke Ariki restaurant yesterday, it struck me that my current location, New Plymouth in Auckland, is not unlike Margate. Population 49,000. Right on the sea.
There the similarity ends, however. From my luxury suite on the waterfront, I can see joggers running along the new, 8km promenade they've just built. Boutique hotels, restaurants and B&Bs are springing up everywhere, with enough cafés to delight even the most hardened caffiend. Shops, galleries and public amenities abound.
According to the waitress who served up the knackers last night, this transformation from a rather dowdy port, 200 miles along an A road from anywhere else worth mentioning, to a thriving, bustling city has taken less than a decade.
I bet the Kiwis didn't spend £8m just thinking about it, either.