As it happened: Barack Obama welcomed to New Zealand

Barack Obama arrived in New Zealand for the first time on Wednesday.

The former US president flew into the country and played golf against Sir John Key.

What you need to know:

  • Mr Obama stayed at the luxurious The Landing in the Bay of Islands yesterday
  • He lost to his mate Sir John on the Kauri Cliffs golf course
  • He played another match at the exclusive Tara Iti golf course on Thursday
  • He travelled to Auckland to meet PM Jacinda Ardern at Government House
  • Later on, he'll have a "moderated conversation" with homegrown actor Sam Neill
  • Mr Obama is expected to leave on Friday

These live updates have now ended.

Ms Ardern and Mr Obama.
Ms Ardern and Mr Obama. Photo credit: Supplied

5:35 - Ms Ardern speaks to media about Obama meeting

Ms Ardern says they spoke about topics such as leadership, social media and the environment. Current US President Donald Trump was not specifically mentioned during the meeting.

She asked him how he dealt with guilt as a parent in the job and says his insight was that all you can do is your best.

5:23 - Obama and Jacinda Arden meet 

You can see a live stream of Ms Ardern's post meeting stand up here.

4:36 - Obama asks about Prime Minister's pregnancy

He told her it's "so exciting"

4:20 - Barack Obama presented with whale tooth

Ngarimu Blair of Ngāti Whātua presented Mr Obama with two teeth, one for him and one for his wife Michelle.

4:07pm - Barack Obama receives spine-tingling welcome to Government House

Ngāti Whātua is performing a powhiri, which will be followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Jacinda Ardern at Government House.
Jacinda Ardern at Government House. Photo credit: Newshub.

3:59pm - Jacinda Ardern waits for Obama at Government House

He is due to be formally welcomed with a powhiri. You can watch Newshub's livestream here.

3:10pm - Obama arrives back in Auckland

Barack Obama has arrived back in Auckland for his pōwhiri at Government House. Afterwards, he has a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

After that is an invite-only meeting at the Viaduct Events Centre with Kiwi actor Sam Neil.

2:50pm - Barack Obama unleashes swing

Barack Obama has unleashed his swing during his golf match at the Tara Iti course on Thursday.

"@BarackObama gets into the swing of his game at world renowned Tara Iti near Auckland," Air NZ posted.

2:35pm - Obama's emotion after hole

Former US president Barack Obama is known for his cool demeanour - but none of that was on display during his match with Sir John Key on Thursday.

After taking his shot, a visibly-emotional Mr Obama can be seen swinging his club in reaction.

Sir John won their last contest at Kauri Cliffs yesterday, however there is no word on who is winning today's contest. 

1:35pm - Barack Obama's visit "an inspiration"

Minister for Pacific Peoples, the Honourable Aupito Tofae Su'a William Sio, says Barack Obama's visit is important for New Zealand.

"I think it is significant, as a former president," he told Radio 531pi earlier today.

"Very rarely do we get the high-calibre or leaders at his level come down to this part of the world."

Mr Sio hopes Mr Obama will use his voice to speak out on environmental issues affecting the Pacific, and that Ms Ardern will brief him on this.

"He had an interest in climate change," he says.

"So the significance of him coming down here is hopefully when he meets privately with the Prime Minister of New Zealand, that he'll be interested in those things."

Mr Sio told Radio 531pi that as the first black president of the United States, Mr Obama is a figure to look up to for New Zealand's youth.

"For a lot of our young people in particular, he will be an inspiration to them of what's possible."

11:50am - Obama spotted playing golf

Police are guarding the greens as Mr Obama tees off.

He's playing with Sir John Key, who he lost to yesterday.

Multiple officers have been seen patrolling the Tara Iti golf course as the former president plays.

11:20am - Stunning photos before Obama's golf round.

The wife of the former US Ambassador to New Zealand has shared stunning shots of the views in Northland as Mr Obama plays golf.

"More presidential views before another round of golf in GORGEOUS New Zealand," Nancy Gilbert tweeted.

10:30am - Simon Bridges talks to Obama

National Party leader Simon Bridges has spoken to former president Barack Obama on Thursday morning.

"Had the opportunity to briefly chat to President @BarackObama this morning and welcome him to New Zealand," he tweeted.

"He's having a great time here being shown around by John Key, but isn't so sure about his counting on the golf course."

09:50 - Obama arrives at Tara Iti

Barack Obama's helicopter has been seen arriving at the exclusive Tara Iti golf course. He'll face off against Sir John Key again - hopefully with more success.

09:30am - Sam Neill in 'cold sweat' over Obama meeting

Kiwi actor Sam Neill says he's in a "cold sweat" ahead of his meeting with Barack Obama later today.

Mr Obama will hold a "moderated conversation" with Mr Neill at a New Zealand-United States Council event at the Auckland Viaduct Events Centre.

"So tonight, for an hour on stage, it's just me and President Obama. Am I nervous? Nah. This cold sweat thing is just me all the time. I'm fine. Thanks," Mr Neill says on Twitter.

08:50am - Sir John Key beats Jacinda Ardern with Obama visit

Newshub's national correspondent Patrick Gower says Mr Obama will have "courtesy call" with current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"He's under no obligation to talk to Jacinda Ardern so she's pretty lucky that she gets to see him," Gower told The AM Show on Thursday.

"For Jacinda Ardern, she's getting very little time. Who knows what Barack Obama will want to raise with her."

Gower agreed with host Duncan Garner that Ms Ardern is being overshadowed by her predecessor, Sir John Key.

"Jacinda Ardern really getting no benefit in terms of Barack Obama being able to talk about her or anything like that. It's John Key who's lapping up most of the benefit from this visit and most of the face time," he told Garner.

"John Key won't mind about that and I'm sure the National Party won't either.

"Simon Bridges will be calling in every favour from John Key to get him as much time as possible at this do tonight."

08:20am - Max Key shares golf photo with Obama

Max Key, the son of former prime minister Sir John Key, has shared photos showing him on the green with his father and Barack Obama.

"Thanks for the round again Mr President! Was awesome to see you on kiwi soil," he said on Instagram.

08:00am - Sir Peter Jackson dines with Barack Obama

Sir Peter Jackson was a guest of Barack Obama at an exclusive dinner in Northland last night.

Newshub has learned Sir Peter was one of 12 people who dined at The Landing, where the former president was staying.

Other guests included Sir John Key and Lady Bronagh, Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon and wife Amanda and former US Ambassador Mark Gilbert and wife Nancy.

It is not known who the other guests were, but it is owned by Peter Cooper, one of New Zealand's richest people.

The Landing costs about NZ$13,000 a night and has a "bespoke menu" and its own vineyard.

Its website says "you'll enjoy garden-to-plate dining that makes use of The Landing's orchards, vegetable and herb gardens and free-range meats".

07:50am - Photos show Obama's luxurious accommodation

New photos taken by Newshub's national correspondent Patrick Gower show Mr Obama's luxurious Northland accommodation.

A helicopter, believed to be the one used to transport Mr Obama around New Zealand, can be seen in the foreground.

As it happened: Barack Obama welcomed to New Zealand
Photo credit: Newshub

07:30am - Obama meets kiwi

Mr Obama met a kiwi yesterday. An image shared to social media by former United States Ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert shows the former president getting up close to our native bird.


Sign up to receive news updates

By entering your email address, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Newshub and its affiliates may use your email address to provide updates/news, ads, and offers. To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Policy.