People had almost forgotten the last time Wellington had taken the NPC. It was 14 years ago, in fact, in Earle Kirton's first year as coach in 1986.
It was first fitting then, that brother Rex Kirton was there as Wellington Union president to be part of the deliriously happy team group which denied Canterbury another trophy in the final.
It was an epic match as Canterbury fought back from a big deficit. It also had its moments of controversy - and television replays later suggested Christian Cullen should have been awarded two tries, one on either side of halftime, that would have put Wellington too far out of sight to be caught.
It wasn't, but it was oh, so close before Paul Honiss blew the final whistle.
A special mention for captain Norm Hewitt, who broke an arm, in the second half but refused to go off because of the shortage of replacements. He moved to prop and did a fine job.
The season wasn't all roses though. Midway through there was a dreadful performance against North Harbour. It would be true to say that North Harbour was bad that day, but it still won 24-7. That didn't leave Wellington's effort shining brightly.
All kudos, then, to coaches Dave Rennie and Graham Mourie and their team, for sorting out what was wrong so quickly. The following week's training at Rongotai College got things back on track, Wellington scrambled into the semis - and thrashed Auckland 48-23 in Auckland in one of the more heartwarming Wellington efforts in a long time.
Then it was off to Christchurch, and all the ups-and-downs of that glorious final. Back in Wellington the next morning, more than 3000 supporters crowded the airport, and some estimated that 75,000 watched the homecoming parade down Lambton Quay a couple of days later.
To cap it off, the Wellington Colts won 10 from 10 as well.
Success brings All Black recognition, and Tana Umaga, Christian Cullen, Jason O'Halloran, Jonah Lomu and Alama Ieremia played for New Zealand. Some were involved in that remarkable 39-35 win over the Wallabies at Sydney - and also the last-minute 24-23 loss at Wellington.
New Zealand A toured to Europe, with Wellington players Dion Waller, Kupu Vanisi, Jason Spice, David Holwell, and Jerry Collins on the flight.
And Collins, Rodney So'oialo, James King and Riki Flutey played for NZ Under-21.
The move to the WestpacTrust Stadium was worth every penny. Games were virtually sellouts, and the team did the rest. In fact the average NPC crowd was roughly 18,000 more than the 1999 average at Athletic Park.
The first rugby event at the stadium was the New Zealand International Sevens. The New Zealand team couldn't win it, but 52,000 people had a whale of a time over the two days.
And there were 10,000 at the club final at the stadium, which saw Petone win the Jubilee Cup. MSP took the Swindale and Wests the Hardham Cup.
The Hurricanes, though, promised much and offered - in the end - not a lot when the pressure went on. With Graham Mourie and Bryan Williams at the helm for the first time, the team finished eighth. They used 24 players from the franchise, and just two from outside.
The S12 profit was $1.2 million, because the people kept turning up despite the results. The union's overall surplus was $1.075 million before tax and distributions.
At the end of the year CEO David White resigned and went to the Auckland Rugby Union. His job had been well done.
Record: Played 13 Won 9 Lost 4
Points 363 Against 309
July 30 v Taranaki at New Plymouth: Lost 10-46. Try: O'Halloran. Conversion: Vili. Penalty: Flutey; Referee C J Rooney (Manawatu).
August 4 v Otago at Hutt Recreation Ground: Won 22-21. Tries: Sullivan, Paku. Penalties: Vili (4); Referee D Heibner (Wellington).
August 11 v Canterbury at Westpac Trust Stadium (NPC & Harry Saundercock Memorial Trophy): Won 27-20. Tries: Seveali'i, Tiatia, Afeaki. Conversions: Holwell (3) Penalties: Holwell (2); Referee C J Hawke (South Canterbury).
August 19 v Otago at Dunedin (NPC & Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy): Won 10-6. Try: Paku. Conversion: Holwell. Penalty: Holwell; Referee G K Wahlstrom (Auckland).
August 27 v Northland at Westpac Trust Stadium (NPC): Lost 24-30. Tries: Motusaga, Edwards, Lomu. Conversions: Holwell (3). Penalty: Holwell; Referee K M Deaker (Hawke's Bay).
September 2 v Taranaki at Westpac Trust Stadium (NPC & John F Henning Trophy): Won 41-13. Tries: Lomu, Cullen, Collins, Sititi. Conversions: Holwell (3) Penalties: Holwell (5); Referee S R Walsh (North Harbour).
September 8 v Auckland at Westpac Trust Stadium (NPC & Fred Lucas Cup): Lost 19-24. Try: Collins. Conversion: Holwell. Penalties: Holwell (4); Referee S Walsh snr (North Harbour).
September 16 v North Harbour at Albany (NPC): Lost 7-24. Try: So'oialo. Conversion: Flutey; Referee P D O'Brien (Southland).
September 24 v Counties-Manukau at Pukekohe (NPC): Won 45-29. Tries: Afeaki, Cullen, Umaga, O'Halloran, Lomu, Flutey. Conversions: Holwell (3). Penalties: Holwell (3); Referee S R Walsh (North Harbour).
September 30 v Southland at Invercargill (NPC): Won 28-21. Tries: Lomu (2), Collins, Umaga. Conversions: Holwell (4); Referee P G Honiss (Waikato).
October 7 v Waikato at Westpac Trust Stadium (NPC): Won 48-23. Tries: Fleming (2), Lomu, Umaga, Collins, O'Halloran. Conversions: Holwell (6). Penalties: Holwell (2); Referee P D O'Brien (Southland).
October 13 v Auckland at Auckland (NPC semi final): Won 48-23. Tries: Cullen (2), Lomu, Umaga, Fleming. Conversions: Holwell (4). Penalties: Holwell (4). Dropped goal: Cullen; Referee S R Walsh (NorthHarbour).
October 21 v Canterbury at Canterbury (NPC final): Won 34-29. Tries: Lomu (2), O'Halloran, Afeaki. Conversions: Holwell (4). Penalties: Holwell (2); Referee P G Honiss (Waikato).
NPC = National Provincial Championship