North suits Obama to a tee

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

He was once the most pow­er­ful man in the world, and now for­mer US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is spend­ing some time in the Far North.

How­ever, there’s lit­tle chance of many Far North folk get­ting to meet the great man.

The 44th pres­i­dent of the US landed in the coun­try last on Tuesday and yes­ter­day morn­ing took off from Mis­sion Bay, Auck­land, by he­li­copter for a round of golf at Kauri Cliffs golf course and re­sort with for­mer NZ Prime Min­is­ter John Key.

A high level of se­crecy and se­cu­rity sur­rounds the visit, but it’s un­der­stood Mr Obama was to spend last night at the lux­ury re­sort The Land­ing in the Bay of Is­lands.

His visit has at­tracted me­dia in­ter­est from around the world and his time in the Far North is ex­pected to gen­er­ate huge in­ter­est in the re­gion, which may lead to more tourists and in­vest­ment.

Kauri Cliffs is a top lux­ury lodge, with a golf course ranked among the world’s top 50 golf cour­ses. The ho­tel it­self was voted to be among the best in the world.

The prop­erty was opened in 2001 by New York-based fi­nancier and phi­lan­thropist Ju­lian H Robert­son.

The Amer­i­can busi­ness­man also owns a sis­ter lodge The Farm at Cape Kid­nap­pers and an­other lux­ury re­sort in Queen­stown.

The Land­ing is a 404ha prop­erty made up of six pri­vate beaches, a vine­yard and four pri­vate res­i­dences si­t­u­ated across the land.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion started at $3500 for one night in ei­ther The Boathouse or Vine­yard Villa while visi­tors stay­ing in the Cooper Res­i­dence would have to stump up a whop­ping $13,000 per night.

Guests are of­fered an ar­ray of ac­tiv­i­ties such as fish­ing, div­ing and hik­ing, or for those en­vi­ron­men­tally in­clined the venue’s web­site boasted “ex­cel­lent bird­watch­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties” in­clud­ing kiwi-spot­ting night walks.

Mr Key has a hand­i­cap of 8 and Mr Obama revealed in 2016 that he had a reg­is­tered hand­i­cap of 13.

Hit­ting the green with Mr Obama was for­mer US Am­bas­sador Mark Gil­bert, who had re­turned to New Zealand for the visit.

Mr Gil­bert said the trip would em­pha­sise the grow­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween NZ and the US.

“We struck up a friend­ship when he was a newly elected ju­nior sen­a­tor from the state of Illi­nois,” Mr Gil­bert said of Mr Obama.

He said Mr Obama “ab­so­lutely” still had a big in­flu­ence on so­ci­ety, de­spite his re­moval from the po­lit­i­cal sphere.

“What he’s re­ally fo­cus­ing on right now is the Obama Foun­da­tion and how they can teach young as­pir­ing lead­ers to be the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers around the world.” Mr Obama may hit the fair­ways for an­other game to­day, be­fore head­ing back to Auck­land for a pri­vate meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern. Next up was a 1000-guest in­vi­ta­tion-only din­ner at the ANZ Viaduct Events Cen­tre this evening.

GOLFER-IN-CHIEF: For­mer US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama gets into the swing of things on the fair­way at Kauri Cliffs yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.