An unusual thing happened to Jacinda Ardern on Friday night.
At the end of the working week, New Zealand’s prime minister went out to dinner with her friend, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, and his partner Alf.
Normally, the sight of a prime minister in public might turn a few heads, provoke some murmuring or prompt the odd pic.
At Loretta, a bustling restaurant on Wellington’s Cuba Street, patrons stood and applauded Ms Ardern as she was escorted to her seat.
“It was very cool but very disruptive,” restaurant manager Erin Lawton-McKenzie laughed.
“She had a table at the back so we had to walk her past everyone in the restaurant.”
A third wheel has surely never been so celebrated.
“She’s great. She deserves it,” Ms Lawton-McKenzie continued.
“And no one bothered her at all at the table, during dinner. What other world leader could go into a heaving restaurant on a Friday and have an unbothered dinner?
“On the way out everyone jumped up to say ‘thank you’ or ask for a pic. It took them 10 minutes to get out.”
Leaving the restaurant for nearby live music venue San Fran, Ms Ardern’s entry under low light was more conspicuous.
When much-loved local troubadour Nadia Reid’s show was over, the PM again became the centre of attention.
“After the show my guitarist and I sat and had a drink with her and Grant,” Ms Reid told AAP.
“On the way out someone from the audience yelled out, ‘Let’s give our prime minister a round of applause’ and we all stood up of course.
“She really has done an incredible job leading us through multiple things in the last year but COVID-19 especially. We all have so much respect and admiration for her.”
It might be easy to write off the adoration as “classic Wellington Central”, as Ms Lawton-McKenzie says in a reference to Mr Robertson’s electorate and one of Labour’s safest seats.
Except it keeps happening.
At the reopening of national museum Te Papa last month, one woman insisted upon breaking social distancing rules – now a memory in New Zealand – for a selfie and to say “thank you for keeping us safe”.
On Tuesday, visits to businesses in the Bay of Plenty – the heartland of opposition leader Todd Muller and a National-held seat since 1938 – Ms Ardern was feted.
On Wednesday, Ms Ardern was given another standing ovation on arrival at Blenheim airport, another National stronghold.
Advisers say it is impossible to keep the PM on time as she is constantly mobbed, asked for selfies – and even given presents.
“It’s people coming up to say ‘thank you’ mostly. And of course the prime minister says ‘thank you’ back,” an aide tells AAP.
The arrival of COVID-19 has devastated New Zealand; 22 Kiwis are dead, and the economy is on track for a ten per cent contraction this year.
But after looking around at the rest of the world, New Zealanders credit Ms Ardern’s government with saving them from the worst of the pandemic.
The coronavirus has completely also reset the political landscape, 100 days out from the September 19 election.
In February, both of New Zealand’s regular polling companies had opposition National slightly ahead of Ms Ardern’s Labour.
That often surprises Australians, who have seen Ms Ardern’s authentic response to last year’s Christchurch mosques shooting and assume local popularity.
They see clips of impassioned, off-the-cuff parliamentary speeches to establish zero carbon targets.
They see her steady as a rock while live on air during an earthquake.
What they don’t see is her multi-billion-dollar signature Auckland light rail project run aground.
They don’t see housing projects fall embarrassingly short of target.
And they might not know her Labour party finished seven percentage points behind opposition National at the 2017 poll, cobbling a path to power through an unlikely alliance with right-wing populists NZ First.
But all of that, for the moment is forgotten: Ms Ardern is flying high.
If an election was held now, polls suggest Labour would be able to govern without coalition partners for the first time since the introduction of the mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system in 1996.
Spooked by their own unpopularity, National flipped leaders last month, ousting Simon Bridges in a relatively bloodless coup to install Mr Muller.
Mr Muller is a huge underdog, but should be a better opponent to Ms Ardern, with a background in agri-business and a broad appeal to regional Kiwis who make up a majority of the electorate.
There are two factors that could yet scuttle Ms Ardern’s bid for re-election.
The first is the economy, with unemployment rates likely to roughly double by the September 19 poll.
Like the Liberals in Australia, National enjoys a reputation as better economic managers – though Mr Robertson’s prudent saving before the arrival of COVID-19 will be trumpeted by Labour as a strong rebuttal.
The second is a danger within Ms Ardern’s coalition.
NZ First, led by Winston Peters, has been in government twice before, failing to see out each term, first with Peters as treasurer and then as foreign minister.
The Serious Fraud Office is conducting an inquest into a NZ First-linked foundation, pledging to hand down results before the election.
With NZ First low in the polls and on track to miss a return to parliament, it remains to be seen what Mr Peters might be planning in the election campaign.
For these reasons, Ms Ardern’s re-election is not a lay down misere.
And given the tumult and tragedy of the last 100 days, who could possibly predict the next 100?