Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Americans turn out in NZ

Obama's far-away supporters don't let distance hamper their victory celebrations.

Kim Daly and Jeremy Slezak in Ponsonby. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Kim Daly and Jeremy Slezak in Ponsonby. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Expatriate Americans in Auckland celebrated hard as Barack Obama returned to the White House.

A large crowd cheered at a party at the Revelry Bar in Ponsonby as they watched Mr Obama's victory unfold.

New Jersey native Kim Daly - dressed in blue, white and red - said he was the only man she wanted to see back in the White House.

"It's exciting news, especially as a proud American and a big supporter of Barack Obama. He's done a lot for women's rights and I like that. He speaks for the majority of the middle class and he makes me proud of my country.

"He's charismatic and just a nice American guy. He doesn't act like a politician. He's a family man."

American Club New Zealand member Peter Mellalieu said although he was wearing two different badges - Republican red and Democrat blue - he was an Obama supporter.

"Romney, I think, represents a party that is just too extreme. Their policies are too extreme and do not fit in how the world works.

"Obama is a man of integrity. He has a clear vision for America and that is the kind of person you need as president."

The party was organised by the American Club New Zealand. US consulate staff were also there.

Charles Naslund said he was probably the only Romney supporter in the room.

"We moved here because we weren't happy with the way the country is now, since Obama has been president.

"The economy rating has gone down and the US is no longer well-liked around the world. I think people are voting based on popularity now, not on policies."

Wellington's Chicago Bar was decorated with flags and cardboard cut-outs of Mr Obama and Mr Romney.

Ryan Friesen, 33, and Sunshine Prior, 28, revelled in the chance to be surrounded by American accents, colours and flags.

Mr Friesen, of Indiana, said it was a right and a privilege to mail in his vote for Mr Obama four weeks ago.

"It's something I feel like I need to do, whether I'm at home or abroad."

But the result was a little bit closer than he would have liked.

"I knew it was going to be a close election, but I didn't think Romney was going to represent so well in some of the swing states."

- Additional reporting, APNZ

- NZ Herald

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