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SocietyMarch 21, 2018

How to holiday in New Zealand like Barack Obama

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Former US president Barack Obama is in New Zealand for three days. You might not get to see him but as Madeleine Chapman shows, you can still travel like him.

It’s easy to like Barack Obama. It’s even easier to like him when his successor has the charisma of a lit turd. Soon after his presidency ended in 2017, Obama went on holiday with Richard Branson and turned the whole world into his spurned lover. It was a good holiday, with jet skis and barbecues and other things that only exist on privately owned islands. Now, over a year later, Obama can do whatever he likes. Naturally, he’s chosen to spend three days in New Zealand on holiday*.

*a work trip.

The Spinoff sent an operative undercover to retrieve Obama’s full itinerary so that you, the humble Kiwis of Middle Earth, can one day replicate a former US president’s vacation*.

*work trip.

56 hours in New Zealand with Barack Obama


0145 Land at Auckland airport in a private jet. Wherever you live in New Zealand or the world, a private jet is vital in that it allows you to avoid the Air New Zealand safety video.

0745 Get a cup of coffee. The type of coffee doesn’t matter. It’s coffee. It’s technically New Zealand coffee because you’re in New Zealand and there’s coffee here but coffee is coffee and you drink coffee so get a cup of coffee.

0846 See this from the national paper. Wonder what the hell you’re doing in this country.

0930 Catch a helicopter to the far north. Most of this trip will be spent commuting but that’s all part of the fun. Look at the green hills and stuff.

1130 Land in the far north where you’ll meet a middle-aged businessman and his…son? They’re here to play golf with you, a classic Kiwi pastime.

1230 Politely ask the man’s son not to film you on his phone.

1245 Man’s son puts the dog ears Snapchat filter on you. Spend 20 minutes pleading with him not to upload it to his snapstory.

1315 Talk shifts to whether or not Snapchat is circling the drain. Tell the man’s son to get on Twitter to increase his social media presence.

1430 Ask security to remove the man’s son from the premises after he throws a bandana on your head, blasts an air horn, and yells “DO IT FOR THE VLOG” in your face.

1630 Finish up with golf. Walk directly from the 18th hole into your helicopter. No time to chat when there’s commuting to be done.

1900 Just sit in your hotel room, I guess. Maybe watch The Crowd Goes Wild if the hotel doesn’t have Sky.

“I’ll pay you to come play golf once we’re done with our boring jobs” (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)


0700 Read nine page memo on how to hongi.

0730 Do a couple of practice hongis. Consider whether it would be disrespectful to practice hongi with your security guard. He looks uncomfortable. Decide it would be better not to.

1015 Head to the Government House where you’ll be welcomed by a powhiri. Remember what you read in the memo and correctly hongi multiple people.

1300 Have a snack with the prime minister. Is she pregnant? Don’t ask, but she looks a little bit pregnant.

1500 Drive around the city in your tinted car, looking at random people and changing their lives.

1800 Look at the Sky Tower through the tinted glass. Cool, huh.

1900 Speak to Sam Neill onstage for an hour. Remember he’s Sam Neill, not Neil Finn. Sam Neill, not Neil Finn.

2010 Answer questions from young leaders of New Zealand. Hope that nobody asks about drones.

2100 Quietly leave your own event after shaking 300 hands and kissing 500 cheeks.

2200 Order room service at the Sofitel and check the news. See that you’re still breaking news and once again wonder what the hell you’re doing here.


0900 Leave $500,000 richer. What a trip, what a country.

This section is made possible by Simplicity, New Zealand’s fastest growing KiwiSaver scheme. As a nonprofit, Simplicity only charges members what it costs to invest their money. It already has more than 12,500 plus members who, together, are saving more than $3.8 million annually in fees. This year, New Zealanders will pay more than $525 million in KiwiSaver fees. Why pay more than you need to? It takes two minutes to switch. Grab your IRD # and driver’s licence. It really is that simple.

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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