Fijian PM greets Key in historic meeting

Jenna Lynch (Newshub)
Jenna Lynch (Newshub)

Prime Minister John Key has touched down in Suva where he was greeted by his Fijian counterpart, Frank Bainimarama.

It was a warm welcome with a 100 man guard of honour, banners with Mr Key's face, and a welcome message adorning the streets into the Suva City centre, with children lining those streets waving at the motorcade.

Fijian PM greets Key in historic meeting

Mr Key was given a matching Fijian shirt and treated to a SevuSevu -- a traditional Fijian welcome similar to a powhiri.

Mr Key was gifted a pig, and offered up kava -- he says he asked for a half cup, but they dished up a full one.

This is the first meeting on either's home soil since the military leader, Mr Bainimarama, took power through a coup in 2006.

The people of Fiji then democratically elected him into power in 2014 -- and since then the relationship has been warming -- with a number of meetings between the foreign ministers.

But there's nothing like the temperatures of the Pacific to even further warm a frosty relationship.

Mr Key was greeted by Mr Bainimarama as he disembarked the Air Force plane, before a 100 man guard of honour.

There will shortly be a State banquet hosted by Mr Bainimarama, and both men will address the delegation.

But tomorrow is when things get down to business -- they will have a half hour meeting.

Mr Key plans to talk trade and development.

Part of that is our Development Assistance Programme with Fiji, helping with agricultural development as well as government support while the country fully transitions to democracy.

The pair will also discuss the Cyclone Winston recovery process, in which New Zealand has played a big part.

There's also the thorny subject of a number of New Zealand journalists who were banned from the country during times of unrest. Mr Key hopes to raise this with the Fijian Prime Minister.

They'll address the media after their talks, however we won't get to know what Mr Bainimarama really thinks -- no questions are allowed to be asked of him.

While in Suva, Mr Key will also be making a visit to the HMNZS Otago, which has been stationed in Fiji to assist with fisheries patrolling.

From there he'll head to Naiyala High School -- one of those devastated when Cyclone Winston ripped through Fiji killing 44 people.

The New Zealand Defence Force has helped with the rebuild of the school.