Two American tourists thought they'd found the friendliest country in the world when they got talking to a woman at Wellington Airport earlier this month.

Passersby kept greeting the woman by name, prompting the Americans to enthuse about the little country where everyone knew everyone else.

They told her they had a new president called Trump.

"You don't say?" she responded.

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They said they'd heard New Zealand had also changed its leader last year.

Yes, his name is Bill and he is a very nice man, she said.

"Do know him?" they asked.

To their amazement, she did.

They didn't spot the amused looks from people sitting nearby when she said: "We also changed our deputy prime minister."

"Wow! You don't know him too do you?" they asked.

"Well, yes," said Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett. "He's me."

Bennett told the tale during a visit to Westport last week. She said she had planned to wade through paperwork while waiting for a delayed flight, but gave up after the Americans asked to share her table.

They left with photos of themselves with the Deputy PM. She left with unfinished paperwork.

- Westport News