US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister John Key had a very warm encounter at a Pacific reception in Washington hosted at New Zealand Embassy.

Neither looked ruffled by the sweltering 35C heat as they addressed to a mainly Pacific audience.

Mr Key asked him how he was and Mr Kerry said much better for having seen him.

Mr Kerry gave an impassioned speech about the environment, climate change and the solution being clean energy including nuclear energy.


Mr Key talked about how the Pacific was family to New Zealand and how his Government had decided to put more than half its aid to the Pacific. he also talked about how New Zealand was focusing on sustainable energy in the Pacific.

The pair will meet again more formally tomorrow morning New Zealand time.

New Zealand ambassador Mike Moore and his wife Yvonne were also on hand to greet and farewell Mr Kerry.

On his way out, Mr Kerry commented to New Zealand reporters that he had visited Wellington in 1968 and much he had enjoyed going into the mountains.

"It was absolutely beautiful."

He was 25 at the time and taking some "R and R" from fighting in Vietnam.

He later became an anti-war activist.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Danny Russel was there, too, as was Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley.