A group of young American politicians spent the weekend in Rotorua as part of a trip to learn about the politics and culture of New Zealand.

The delegation included council representatives, members of State Senates and government affairs workers.

They spent the weekend among the trees on the Redwoods Tree Walk, at the Agrodome feeding the animals, visiting The Buried Village and learning about Māori culture.

They also enjoyed the company of Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey and had lunch with Rotorua MP Todd McClay.


McClay said it was an opportunity to showcase Rotorua and to learn what he could from the delegation.

"We can get an idea of what's going on over there and the implications of what that means for Rotorua or New Zealand."

he group are here as part of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL)inter-Parliamentary exchange.

American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas director of advocacy Michele Watley said Rotorua was a long way from her home in Kansas.

"It's wonderful here, absolutely beautiful and the people have been so lovely and friendly.

"Kansas City is at the heart of the US, there are no bodies of water but the biggest similarity is we also have lots of cows."

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She said Kansas City was racially diverse with lots of different cultures and ways of being.

"It's been interesting to learn about how New Zealand's landscapes affected its architecture and culture and to learn about Māori culture."

After visiting Rotorua, the group have a tightly packed schedule, travelling to Wellington for a week to visit parliament before a trip to Hamilton.

They are in the country for 10 days.

Nebraska State Senate member Matt Hansen said New Zealand was "gorgeous".

"The Redwoods walk was a unique experience and very impressive.

"For me, immediately getting off the plane the landscape has been gorgeous, there are lots of hills and mountains.

"Nebraska is known for being miles and miles of very flat corn fields."

He said it was important for him to come to learn from and meet people who serve in different governments, both within America and internationally.

"We're off to Wellington this week and I'm interested in learning how things operate here because the parliamentary system is so different.

"I'm excited to see the question and answer time."