US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Christchurch
While the world watched the US election results come in, Secretary of State John Kerry was flying into Christchurch.
His Boeing 757, in full United States of America regalia, touched down at Christchurch Airport about 5.30pm on Wednesday.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade deputy secretary Lucy Duncan met Kerry on the runway.
They chatted for a few minutes before Kerry jumped into a silver BMW, one of 16 vehicles in convey on the tarmac.
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Kerry is heading to McMurdo Station, one of three US research stations in Antarctica, on Thursday morning.
He is the highest ranked US diplomat to visit the ice. The timing may seem odd with the election going on, but it is dictated by Antarctica's brief summer window for travel.
While he is there, the Secretary of State will meet with researchers studying climate change and check out the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area – the worlds largest marine reserve at 1.6 million square kilometres.
Kerry will back in Christchurch on Saturday, before heading to Wellington for meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Prime Minister John Key on Sunday. He flies out of New Zealand on Sunday evening, heading for Oman.
According to the US State Department, Kerry has visited 90 countries and racked up over 2 million kilometres of travel and 118 days of flight time since becoming State Secretary on 1 February 1, 2013.