Fortunately for U.S. state secretary, Rex Tillerson, his visit to Wellington was a mere 8-hour drive by event.
As Tillerson's motorcade proceeded to the New Zealand parliament building, crowds of locals turned out in the cold and wet to greet Rex with the Kiwi middle finger salute.
Fairfax Media reported that the US media contingent were surprised by the hostile reception from members of the public.
“I’ve never seen so many people flip the bird at an American motorcade as I saw today,” the New York Times’ Washington correspondent, Gardiner Harris, told Stuff.co.nz.
About 200 protesters with the climate change action group 350 Aotearoa were gathered outside Parliament to “unwelcome” Tillerson, following president Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord.
Greenpeace New Zealand referred to Tillerson as Trump’s “henchman”.
Tillerson didn't get a much warmer greeting from New Zealand's prime minister either.
At a press conference, Bill English said: “New Zealanders have for a long time not liked various presidents of the US and disagreed with their views about our anti-nuke policies for 30 years – but that doesn’t prevent us confirming our shared values and cooperating with them on security and defence.”
English later told news media that he and Tillerson “discussed our disagreement over the withdrawal from the Paris agreement”. According to Stuff’s report, Tillerson stood by Trump’s decision to exit the deal that he said did not serve US interests.
James Shaw said later in parliament that New Zealand had a “proud history” of standing up to the US over nuclear weapons: “Today we should stick up for the climate.”