Full disclosure: I was asking questions of Air NZ on Sunday afternoon, suspecting it may be the start of a diplomatic incident.
Ardern's remarks followed questions by some politicians and analysts whether the incident pointed to broader issues in New Zealand's ties to its key trading partner.
But while former Prime Minister John Key made it virtually a policy to visit China annually, with ministerial visits averaging close to one a month, face to face contact with the current Government has become nearly rare. The agency said the Chinese company's equipment posed a "significant network security risk".
"As is required, the application includes a list of destinations the airline operates to, including Taipei", Air New Zealand said, without elaborating.
The approximate number of hours NZ289 was into its Auckland-to-Shanghai flight when it had to turn back.
"I think it is important to be really clear and not confuse administrative and regulatory issues as issues to do with the relationship", Ardern told a weekly news conference.
China's approach to Taiwan is well known, as is its strict approach to paperwork.
And under Ardern, New Zealand has embraced a warmer relationship with Japan.
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Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that the ships entered the waters without China's permission. She urged the United States to cease the "provocative actions".
The same flight, NZ289, was turned back on a flight to China on August 24 a year ago, although an airline spokeswoman said that was due to an engineering issue, not a permitting one.
But even if the Air NZ flight is forgotten, the episode will be repeated.
The exhibition - featuring eight warriors standing 180 cm tall, and two full-size horses from the terracotta army, as well as two half-size replica bronze horse-drawn chariots - opened to the public on December 15 in the run-up to the beginning of 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.
However a fortnight ago, the Chinese (who were the hosts of the event) unexpectedly cancelled.
"It's going to happen, it's just a matter of when they can coordinate the schedule.it's an issue for them, we're just keen to get on with things and no doubt it will happen in the near future", Davis said. The problem for the Ardern Government is that the language is nearly identical to a key question which she can not answer: when are you going to China? The source told the news site that the Chinese were "very explicit" about what they wanted the wording to be, but it apparently had yet to be addressed by the time the plane was in the air.
But the relationship with China and many of our close allies is also changing.
She conceded that China and New Zealand have a "complex relationship" which has "its challenges".
On the one hand, China faces bigger problems, in its ongoing trade war with the United States, meaning it can not afford to get into unnecessary fights elsewhere. Both countries claim sovereignty over the other.