In this Presidential Address delivered to the 35th ANZRSAI conference, the author recalls his introduction to regional science during his 1981 Masters' studies. He recalls New Zealand's economic reforms (1984- 1994), using Census data to illustrate how central government policies caused considerable hardship in all of New Zealand's regions. He reflects on changes since 1999, especially after the introduction of the regional partnerships programme in 2000 and the passing of the Local Government Act in 2002. In that context, he comments on what is termed here as the McCann critique, which cautions against the policy use of constructs not amenable to formal empirical evaluation. The paper finishes with a recent contribution by the author on 'well-being economics'. It shows how the 'market value-added' created by providers of goods and services in New Zealand's sport and outdoor recreation sector is outweighed by the 'personal value-added' that New Zealanders create for themselves by participating in sport and outdoor recreation activities.