Jacinda Ardern is due to touch down in Vietnam late tonight for her first Apec summit as Prime Minister, with the future of the TPP top of her agenda.

The 11 leaders of TPP countries are due to meet late on Friday and they are likely to confirm the survival of the TPP regional trade deal, despite the United States having withdrawn in January.

Ardern also has a long list of bilateral meetings on her "dance card", as she referred to it this week, which includes Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau was one of those who contacted Ardern through Skype to congratulate her on her elevation to Prime Minister three weeks ago during which TPP-11 was discussed.

Japan's Shinzo Abe and Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong - two of New Zealand's firmest friends in Asia - are also expected to have meetings with Ardern.

Trade Minister David Parker and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have been in Da Nang, Vietnam, for several days attending ministerial Apec and TPP meetings.

TPP chief negotiators have been in Vietnam since the start of the week trying to finalise the deal.

They have been discussing which elements of the old deal promoted by the US should be suspended.

And New Zealand has been approaching countries to see which members would be open to a side-deal with New Zealand to suspend the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions, as it has done with Australia.

The first time the Apec leaders get together will be Friday night at a dinner and they will meet formally all day Saturday.

One of Ardern's first events on Friday will be to attend the Apec CEO summit, at which she will take part in a panel discussion on "Resource efficiency and sustainable growth" alongside a vice-president of ExxonMobil, Robert Franklin.

About half of the Apec leaders will take part in the CEO summit throughout the day, mostly in panels, but two leaders, the United States' Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping, will give keynote speeches.

Ardern is due to have about 10 formal meetings over the next five days - although some will be held in the Philippines, which is hosting the East Asia Summit following Apec.

New Zealand diplomats will almost certainly have sounded out bilaterals with heavy hitters such as Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi at the East Asia Summit in Manila.

But such leaders are in high demand for bilateral meetings, as is Trump.

Given the demand on Trump, it would be highly unusual for a new leader from a small country to score a bilateral with him.

But there will be other opportunities at gala dinners, luncheons and receptions for either a pre-booked "pull-aside" or an informal talk.

Ardern has said her priority will be to seek formal meetings with other TPP partners which, as well as Japan, Singapore, Canada and Australia, are Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

Asked about growing protectionism around the world, she said issues of globalisation were always a theme at such forums.

"We are all pursuing an agenda that both traverses the need to meet the needs of our domestic constituencies, look after New Zealand's interest whilst acknowledging that part of New Zealand's interest is to be outward facing," she said this week.

"We see a need to put in place measures that ensure we are able to provide those basic needs like housing ... in the same way many comparable nations have whilst also pursuing an agenda that supports our exporters, that supports our economic growth.

"These are not mutually exclusive agendas.

"What we are trying to maintain is a balance between some of the largesse we have seen whilst at the same time acknowledging we are an outward-facing nation, and we need to be."

Apec in brief
• Hosted by Vietnam in Da Nang
• Focused on trade and economic issues
• Attended by 21 economies including US, China, Russia
• TPP countries meet separately on Apec sidelines
• Apec started in 1989
• NZ hosted Apec in 1999 and will do so again in 2021
• Apec stands for Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation