Key Points:

Prime Minister John Key is nursing an arm broken in two places after he fell down a flight of steps on Saturday. He is due to see a specialist today to find out whether surgery is needed.

Mr Key tripped going down a small set of steps as he left the stage after addressing Chinese New Year celebrations at the Greenlane ASB Showgrounds.

"It was very embarrassing," he told TV1's breakfast show this morning.

"It was a momentary lapse in concentration, I was looking out instead of looking down."

Last night Mr Key, who is right-handed, said he was not quite sure how he tripped but suspected he misjudged his step in the dim lighting of the steps compared with the bright stage lights.

He quickly jumped back on to his feet and, although he was in pain, could still move his fingers so decided it was not broken.

"Then I went to the [Youth Trans Tasman] Touch Tournament to present the awards. So that afternoon, 120 touch rugby players shook my hand."

He said he could not straighten the arm the next morning, so went to have it checked.

Last night, he seemed in good spirits.

Asked if it would affect his plans to visit Ratana later this week with his National Party ministers and the Maori Party, he joked "no, I'll be there with my supporting cast of hundreds - and my cast, literally".

A cast will prove cumbersome - and hot - for the slew of public events he has coming up.

As well as at Ratana, he will need his right hand to shake the hands of other Pacific Island leaders when he travels to Papua New Guinea at the end of the month to discuss Fiji's progress to elections.

It is Mr Key's first meeting as Prime Minister with his counterparts in the Pacific Islands Forum.

He is also due to stop in at the Solomon Islands for a day. He will travel up to Waitangi a few days after returning from PNG for Waitangi Day.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark also tripped, in a shopping centre, during the election campaign. She was unharmed but the footage was repeatedly screened on television.

- with NZPA