Government officials and members of the diplomatic core were among the guests at the United States embassy in Wellington for the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington.
Guests began arriving at 5.15am on Wednesday after being processed through security checks.
As part of the former Bush administration, Ambassador William McCormick stepped down in December.
In his place, charge d'affairs David Keegan called this an historic day for the United States and the world, and one he had never thought he would see.
A Radio New Zealand reporter at the embassy says the atmosphere was quiet as the audience absorbed the speeches and gravity of the moment.