Former US President Barack Obama will be officially welcomed in Auckland this afternoon with a powhiri by iwi Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei at Government House.

Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei, Whai Maia, chief executive Rangimarie Hunia told Newstalk ZB it was an "absolute honour" for the iwi.

"We see him as one of the most influential leaders on the planet. To have the opportunity to welcome him in our traditional language, through the eyes and heart of our culture, means a lot to our people.

"We hope we can do the nation proud."

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Former President Barack Obama and former Prime Minister Sir John Key on the course at Kauri Cliffs golf course yesterday. Photo / Air NZ
Former President Barack Obama and former Prime Minister Sir John Key on the course at Kauri Cliffs golf course yesterday. Photo / Air NZ

The group would include some of the oldest and younger members of the iwi.

"We are taking an intergenerational approach. I have spoken to most of those who will be involved, and they are very jubilant and proud."

The powhiri is scheduled to begin at 3.50pm and will precede a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Tomorrow morning Obama will have brunch with 20 Maori women leaders who are part of the Wahine Toa network set up by Nancy Gilbert, the wife of former ambassador Mark Gilbert.

"It is pretty unbelievable for Aotearoa to have such an international figure in our midst," Hunia said, who is a member of the group.

"[Meeting him] means a lot to my people, to my family.

"The fact he wants to speak to a group of women is fantastic, and Maori women, is very special. I am sure he will want to share around leadership, and how to grow leadership around the world.

"It is hugely empowering for us. We are young mothers, women in careers including fashion, film, iwi, community and business."

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Fashion designer Kiri Nathan said she was "in awe" of the work of Barack and Michelle Obama and the Obama Foundation, and was looking forward to meeting Barack as a member of Wahine Toa.

Fashion designer and member of Wahine Toa, Kiri Nathan, will meet former US President Barack Obama. Photo / Michael Craig
Fashion designer and member of Wahine Toa, Kiri Nathan, will meet former US President Barack Obama. Photo / Michael Craig

"I am looking forward to listening and learning, be able to share that magic with our rangatahi, and hopefully make connections so groups here can work with the Obama Foundation."

Nathan, who spends a lot of time working in education and with at-risk youth in the Far North, said they were going into the meeting with a sense of responsibility.

"In setting up Wahine Toa, Nancy pulled 20 Maori women together, with the kaupapa of women working for the betterment of communities, iwi and people.

"We want make sure we take this experience and share it with all we can."

Former US President Barack Obama tees off at Northland's exclusive Kauri Cliffs golf course yesterday. Photo / Air NZ
Former US President Barack Obama tees off at Northland's exclusive Kauri Cliffs golf course yesterday. Photo / Air NZ

This morning Obama faced former Prime Minister Sir John Key in a golf rematch at the Tara Iti course in Northland.

Obama went down in their first round yesterday at the Kauri Cliffs course, in a match that "came down to the wire", according to Key.

However, Obama has questioned Key's counting skills.

National leader Simon Bridges had a brief phone call with him this morning and said Obama described Key as "a terrible golf cheat".

"He's really enjoyed that but he's not so sure about Sir John's counting on the golf course," Bridges said.

Obama's main event will be a dinner and discussion with actor Sam Neill tonight in front of 800–1000 guests at the Viaduct Events Centre this evening.

That meal has been chosen and overseen by chef Peter Gordon, who was flown from London by Air NZ for the occasion.

Gordon told 1 News he was told Obama liked fish so had selected New Zealand salmon as one option and steak for the other "because he's from Chicago".

Te Mata Estate chief executive Nick Buck said its Bullnose syrah would be served.

"I think with a cheese course at the end."

The wine had been chosen, along with several other Hawke's Bay wines and more from around New Zealand, as part of Air New Zealand's fine wines programme.

"They pulled together a panel wine experts, who pulled together the best of the best and to match up with Peter Gordon's food."

Buck said he was fortunate enough to have also been invited along.

"I am absolutely looking forward to it. I am a great fan of all Obama achieved as president of the US.

"He epitomises a point where the US was outward and inclusive, focused on international trade.

"I am interested to hear his comments about New Zealand's role in the world."

Obama arrived in New Zealand from Singapore by private jet, landing at Auckland Airport just after midnight yesterday morning.