|Hillary Clinton safe from the horrible NZ weather.|
Council staff, civil defence workers and emergency service representatives were among an audience of about 500 people invited to listen to Clinton at the Christchurch Town Hall this afternoon.
Clinton shook the hand of Sam Johnson, the student leader who organised groups of volunteers to help in the clean-up effort.
The hour-long public meeting heard questions about a handful of people in the audience including a young student from Rangi Ruru who asked Clinton about the risk of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorist groups.
Former National government finance minister Ruth Richardson also stood up to ask Clinton how she thought the world would be in her grandchildren's time.
Clinton said it was "a very profound question'' which she wished she was smart enough to answer it comprehensively.
Clinton opened the meeting with a big "kia ora".
Like her early engagement in Wellington, the meeting was unexpectedly brought forward by about half an hour, without explanation.
The meeting brought teachers, academics, students, business people and others to the Christchurch town hall for a once in a lifetime opportunity to ask the secretary questions.
The first question was about Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations.
Mrs Clinton opened the meeting acknowledging the difficulties faced by Christchurch in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake and praised the efforts of local leaders as well as Canterbury University students who used Facebook to gather a volunteer army.
She said the US sent its best wishes and was impressed by how the community responded.
"Americans admire your willingness to step up and do whatever is needed and do it with resilience.."
She also used her opening remarks to praise the work of New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan and referred to yesterday's Wellington Declaration, signed by the two governments, as a sign of the US wanting a broader and deeper relationship with New Zealand.
She also referred to the nuclear issue which has stood in the way of warmer relations between the two countries for the past 25 years.
"We don't agree on every issue ... and nuclear issues have divided us but we share a common goal."
Both countries were committed to creating a world without nuclear weapons, and there was an "enormous agenda" ahead of them, she said.
"New Zealand is highly admired by Americans who are intrigued by what you have built here, who are trying to understand rugby and the great attraction it holds and who are committed to learning more from New Zealand."
She was on a plane for an entire day to get here, and we had to go and let it rain on her.