The UN secretary-general has told Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern her leadership is "crucial" when it comes to tackling climate change.
Antonio Guterres was welcomed at Government House on Sunday afternoon, marking the start of his three-day-visit to New Zealand, which will be focused on the environment.
Guterres wants to build momentum with Pacific leaders ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit being held in New York this September.
"We are seeing everywhere a clear demonstration that we are not on track to achieve the objectives that we find in the Paris Agreement," he said, while also making the point the Pacific is on the frontline of the dramatic impacts of climate change.
A major UN report revealed that up to a million species of plants and animals are declining at a rate previously unseen in human history. The New Zealand Government announced its plans to combat climate change with plans to introduce a Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill into Parliament.
The Bill will create a legally binding objective to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 C with a net zero carbon approach.
There will also be a poignant aspect of Guterres visit. He has been the leader of the UN since 2017and says he makes a solidarity visit to a Muslim country each year during Ramadan, but this year has chosen that visit to be in Christchurch.
“To pay tribute to their courage, their resilience, but also to pay tribute to the extraordinary unity and to the message of solidarity that was given by the people,” said Guterres.