Sir Richard Branson is coming to New Zealand and will be interviewed by former Prime Minister John Key at a black-tie event.

On March 26, Branson will speak at a charity dinner at Auckland's Vector Arena to an expected 1500 guests.

The event will be the Virgin Group founder's second major public speaking event in New Zealand.

During 2011 he spoke at a fundraising gala dinner for Outward Bound during the charity's 50th anniversary.

Key will also interview Branson for a second time, after conducting a Radio Live interview in September 2011 while Branson was in the country for the Rugby World Cup and gala dinner.


Branson said he was "looking forward to visiting New Zealand again and participating in the event".

The Briton and Key are expected to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

The businessman will also take some questions directly from the audience, while Newshub journalist Samantha Hayes will MC the event, with entertainment by the Peter Urlich Swing Quartet.

The event is projected to raise at least $300,000 for Virgin Unite, Branson's global philanthropic effort to create a better world.

The non-profit charity was founded in 2004 and promotes entrepreneurship, business solutions to climate change, creating disruptive collaborations, changing business for good and promoting human dignity.

Branson founded the Virgin Group in 1970, and Forbes currently lists the 66-year-old's wealth at more than NZ$7 billion.

The philanthropist also serves on the Global Commission on Drug Policy and supports ocean conservation with the Ocean Elders.

Those wanting tickets for this month's event, which are being sold from $595+GST, can join a waiting list at