US President-Elect Donald Trump is now just hours from claiming his place as leader of the free world - but New Zealand's own version of The Donald is keen to get in first.

Trump impersonator Alexander Sparrow will be marking the braggadocious tycoon's Washington DC inauguration with an hour-long show of his own in Wellington's Cavern Club tomorrow night.

The 23-year-old actor was immersing himself in the hubristic Trump persona even before the incoming president won the Republican Party's nomination.

"He's a challenge to play, because everybody knows who he is - and if you're not doing a good job, it's obvious."

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Fortunately, his sketch - complete with Queens accent, red tie, excessive hand gestures, generous self-congratulation - has proven a hit with reviewers, and even featured in the Wall Street Journal.

"I just took a punt and it really paid off."

His show features Trump attempting to write his first book soon after winning the election, with audience members serving as his ghostwriters.

"For me, the most important thing is entertainment, so whether you're pro-Trump or anti-Trump, I don't preach at all, I just tell a story as him.

"I've had reviewers who are anti-Trump say it's really good political satire, and I've had pro-Trump people come and just treat it as a roast."

Kiwi Donald Trump impersonator Alexander Sparrow is getting ahead of the US president-elect's Saturday inauguration with a show of his own in Wellington. Photo / Katie Boyle
Kiwi Donald Trump impersonator Alexander Sparrow is getting ahead of the US president-elect's Saturday inauguration with a show of his own in Wellington. Photo / Katie Boyle

Sparrow said he'd been impressed by the legion of other Trump impersonators around the world - notably Saturday Night Live's Alec Baldwin - but added his portrayal was set apart by his natural, Trump-style hairdo.

"It's a good thing for the show, but it's a crap thing for me ... I'm stuck with it."

Watch the video shot when Tristram Clayton took to the streets with Sparrow on November 9 last year, the day the world found out who won the US presidential election.

Meanwhile, a Kiwi in Washington DC described a "weird" atmosphere in the US capital amid the countdown to the inauguration, kicking off at 3am New Zealand time on Saturday.

A shopper browses presidential inauguration memorabilia in the White House gift store in Washington DC this week. Photo / David Paul Morris, Bloomberg
A shopper browses presidential inauguration memorabilia in the White House gift store in Washington DC this week. Photo / David Paul Morris, Bloomberg

"I think surreal is probably the right word," Sophia Duckor-Jones said.

"Because even when the election results came back in November, people just couldn't believe that was the result - and now it's going to be a reality."

The freelance journalist said hotels were full to the brim with Trump supporters, roads into the central city had been blocked off - making for crammed train carriages - and security had "at least tripled".

The event, expected to draw somewhere around 800,000 people, will be promptly followed by the one of the largest demonstrations in US history, the Women's March on Washington.

Among 370 other marches around the world are Kiwi events being staged in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin from 10.30am this Saturday.

Protesting among an expected 200,000 people in Washington will be Caroline Curvan, who has vowed to stay in the US despite invitations from Kiwi relatives to move to New Zealand.

"There are a lot of people here talking about boycotting the inauguration by turning off the TV, but that's not going to change anything," the New York state resident said.

Tensions between Trump supporters and opponents had been running high ahead of the inauguration.

"In my town, Ossining, there are people who put up giant signs reading 'Make America Great Again - Trump Won' and it's causing much more division than there was even during the election, which is hard to imagine."

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner in Washington earlier this week. Photo / AP
President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner in Washington earlier this week. Photo / AP

It was the same case among expat Americans living here, said New Zealand American Association chair Larry Keim.

"It's a very sensitive subject for some people, but I think it's just a case of, let's get on with it and see how things go ... it's going to be an interesting four years, I'll say that much."

But Sparrow wasn't so sure Trump would only be around for one term.

"If the Democrats don't revitalise their campaigns and what they're about, then it's going to be eight years of Trump - and eight years of my show."