Former United States President Barack Obama landed at Auckland Airport just after 12am this morning. After disembarking his private Gulfstream jet, Obama left in a motorcade accompanied by police vehicles.
The 44th US president is beginning his first ever New Zealand trip with a visit to Northland, where he will join former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for a game of golf. The two former leaders formed a strong relationship during their political careers and have remained friends since. Key, wife Bronagh and son Max were spotted arriving at Auckland’s Mechanics Bay heliport this morning with their golf clubs. Obama, who stayed in an Auckland hotel overnight, will also helicopter to Northland.
After a game of golf, the former US president will share a private dinner with former US ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert, his wife Nancy, and a few other guests ata luxury Northland lodge.
The following day, Obama will return to Auckland where he will meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. He will then speak at an invite-only New Zealand US Council event, which is believed to have only 1000 guests.
Obama will only be in New Zealand for three days, before flying to Australia to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Kiwi organisers are hoping to make a good impression on the former US president, however, with respected actor Sam Neill called in to be one of Obama’s hosts and world-class chef Peter Gordon flown in from London to cook for him, RNZ reports.