An evening with Barack Obama: Reactions from those who were there

Barack Obama has cast a spell on a group of lucky punters who spent an evening listening to his tales.

The former US President spoke at the Auckland Viaduct Event Centre, during an invite-only dinner party on Thursday night.

Former Waitakere Mayor Sir Bob Harvey says it was mesmerising to hear him discuss the lead-up to killing Osama bin Laden.

"Deep emotion. The call to order, the storming of that barricade, it must have been such a weight on him that he could have got it wrong.

"I think it was a moment in history to hear the former President say that. It was an extraordinary night."

Former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O'Sullivan says Mr Obama's thoughts on youth piqued his interest.

"I think his comments were, there's a young generation of citizens... that are sceptical about the establishment. We do have tired systems."

Regional development minister Shane Jones attended, despite coming to blows with sponsor Air New Zealand this week. He couldn't resist taking a shot when asked if he spoke to anyone from the national carrier.

"I said, 'Read the book by Tolstoy. It's called War and Peace.'"

And the talk may have inspired a future Prime Minister. St Thomas of Canterbury College student Jared Gali says he's taken away pointers for securing the top job.

"He was here to get people who had different views about the world and stuff so it can challenge him into becoming a better leader, was like, oh, that was mean, that was cool."

Jared says Mr Obama left him feeling inspired.

"My family want me to become the next Prime Minister. It's a big step to take. To hear it from someone who was the President of the United States, it's awesome, especially for me as a young man."

Mr Obama on Thursday met with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, reportedly telling her it's "so exciting" she's expecting a baby.

Mr Obama will fly out to Sydney later on Friday.