Hawke's Bay wines will be served at an exclusive dinner with former US President Barack Obama tonight.

The 44th President of the United States landed in New Zealand in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

His main speaking event in Auckland will be an exclusive 1000-person banquet dinner at the Auckland Viaduct Event Centre tonight, where attendees are expected to enjoy a range of fine New Zealand wines, including Te Mata Estate and Craggy Range.

Read more: Strong Hawke's Bay presence at Obama dinner


Te Mata Estate chief executive Nick Buck is one of the lucky few attending the event.

He said he greatly admired Obama, and was proud to have the estate's Bullnose Syrah and Elston Chardonnay served.

"I think he's come to represent an America that was very outward looking and inclusive, and extremely diplomatic in its world standing.

"I think he did tremendous thing for global trade, global peace and prosperity."

Buck said he understood the wines were among a small group chosen for the event, selected to promote New Zealand's finest wines - run by event co-organisers Air New Zealand.

"I think it's a great endorsement for New Zealand wine as a whole but Hawke's Bay in particular, and the wonderful wines we grow in this region. When people select the very best of New Zealand wine, so often they end up coming to Hawke's Bay."

The dinner's MC is poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, an award Te Mata Estate established in 1997.

Craggy Range chief executive Michael Wilding said "It is such an honour to have Craggy Range Sophia and Le Sol representing Hawke's Bay and New Zealand, and being served to Barack Obama and others at such an amazing event".


There were reports Napier Mayor Bill Dalton was among a select few New Zealand Mayors to attend the event, however he said he was not invited.

The others included Mayors of Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Christchurch, and Nelson.

Dalton said he understood the root of the speculation was that "the press got hold of a draft copy of the invitees and I missed the final cut, that's the explanation I've been offered".

"That's the way it is, obviously there's only so many that can go," he said. "He's an amazing world leader, it would have been lovely to have met him, or to have been in his presence, but it's not to be."

Tonight Mr Dalton will be attending a mayoral conference in Wellington.

Yesterday, Obama went for a round of golf at Kauri Cliffs in the Far North. This course is owned by American Billionaire Julian Robertson, who also owns The Farm at Cape Kidnappers.

A Cape Kidnappers spokesperson said they were not expecting a visit from the former US President.

Event organisers the United States New Zealand Council did not return requests for comment.