It is dubbed the "family photo" and the Apec family certainly comes with more than its fair share of dysfunctionality.

There are mad uncles, dictatorial fathers, matriarchs (precious few of them), bossy brothers, feuding siblings and interfering grandfathers.

As leaders wrap up talks and pose for the photo today, most will wonder where US President-elect Donald Trump will fit into the family next year.

Apec is US President Barack Obama's last international summit. Prime Minister John Key says that made it a bit of a "reflective time" as the leaders prepared to farewell him.

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While it would likely be Key's last encounter with Obama as President, he expected to stay in touch - more golf at Maui and he expected Obama would fulfil his longstanding promise to visit New Zealand soon after his presidency ended.

That partly came from Key's sharp elbows. His lowly status as a self-described "junior world leader" means Key has precious few formal meetings with big wigs such as Obama. At the start, catching Obama's attention meant Key had to make sure he was "coincidentally" in the right place for a quick word.

Now he is a veteran of eight years it is easier - he has built relations with China's Xi Jinping and Obama although Russia's Vladimir Putin is a harder nut to crack.

It paid off. Key first met Obama in 2009, when Obama included Key in the Nuclear Security Summit. The relationship progressed in leaps and bounds - there was golf in Maui and glowing words.

At Apec last year, Key's ears burned when Obama and Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull praised him behind his back, not realising they could be heard over the microphones.

The relationship between New Zealand and US followed suit.

That manifested in practical ways - the signing of the now imperiled TPP - as well as the symbolic - last week's visit of a US warship to New Zealand for the first time since the 1980s.

Now Operation Trump has to begin.