Speculation brews online Barack Obama might be arriving in New Zealand

There is speculation Obama could be touching down in Otago this week. Photo / AP
There is speculation Obama could be touching down in Otago this week. Photo / AP

He didn't make it while he was in the White House, but is Barack Obama about to make his first visit to this country?

Tongues are wagging.

A major security operation is apparently swinging into action tomorrow for a very important person, but authorities won't say who it is.

Newstalk ZB's Political editor Barry Soper says he's been trying to confirm that the visitor is the former US President.

He says all indications are that it is Mr Obama, because the unofficial word from Washington last year was that he was going to come to New Zealand soon after the presidential election.

The former US President will today be attending the funeral of former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney in Pittsburgh.

However, speculation is also growing online that Obama will touch down in Otago this week.

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Earlier, the Otago Daily Times reported a "very, very important person" is set to arrive in the region.

It is understood the operation will centre around Arrowtown and will continue for about a week with golf featuring on the visitor's itinerary.

Since leaving office in January, Obama and his wife have been travelling to a number of holiday destinations around the world, with the former head of state and his wife Michelle last spotted on a yacht near French Polynesia.

Social media lit up with praise when the former President and devoted husband was spotted snapping photos of his wife.

The Obamas weren't the only celebrities on the yacht, with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey joining them.

Queenstown, and Arrowtown in particular have long been a magnet for international figures.

Former United States President Bill Clinton stayed at Millbrook Resort in 1999 after an Apec leaders' meeting in Auckland.

This would be Obama's first visit to New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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