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Obama and Jacinda’s First Meeting

Image: Jacinda Ardern Instagram

Obama and Jacinda’s First Meeting

Former US President Barack Obama and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met after a welcoming powhiri. Did the two leaders get along?

Obama and Jacinda’s First Meeting

Former United States President Barack Obama was welcomed at Government House in Epsom this afternoon with a powhiri by Ngati Whatua. Professor Piri Sciascia translated the speeches in Te Reo Maori for Obama. Obama was presented with two carved whalebone pendants – one for himself and one for Michelle – to symbolise his powerful oratory.

He then experienced his first ever hongi, before heading off with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Obama was overheard jokingly commenting on Ardern’s pregnancy, saying “so, I hear you are expecting”, NZ Herald reports.

This evening, Obama will speak at an invitation-only waterfront event organised by the New Zealand United States Council. Actor Sam Neill is hosting a Q&A session with Obama and Peter Gordon is preparing a delicious dinner. Poet laureate and Associate Professor in English and Drama at The University of Auckland, Selina Tusitala Marsh, will act as emcee for the night.

Last night, Obama was lucky enough to meet a real-life Kiwi when former US Ambassador Mark Gilbert presented Barack with one of the native birds in Northland last night.

Image: Mark Gilbert Instagram

The event will conclude Obama’s brief visit to New Zealand, which kicked off early yesterday with a golfing session in Northland with former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. Australia is next on Obama’s itinerary, where the former leader will meet Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Image: Max Key Instagram

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