Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae has invited Pope Francis to visit New Zealand, during a meeting with the pontiff in Rome.
The meeting is believed to be the first visit a New Zealand governor-general with the Pope at the Vatican.
Mateparae wrote on his Facebook page overnight: "Our audience with Pope Francis was a very special occasion for us today.
"Pope Francis was well informed about New Zealand. He was most interested in hearing about people. I did say to him that he would get a better impression of New Zealand and us if he was to visit!"
A Vatican statement released after the meeting said the conversation had focused on the economic and social life of New Zealand, the contributions of the Catholic Church, regional development, and peace missions.
Mateparae and his wife Lady Janine are on a two-week trip to New York, Italy and Ethiopia.
He has addressed a forum at the United Nations, and visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York.
He will later attend Battle of Cassino commemorations and the official opening of New Zealand's embassy in Addis Ababa.