PM welcomed to Canberra with traditional smoke ceremony

A traditional smoke ceremony, using eucalyptus leaves, welcomes PM Chris Hipkins to Australia.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has been officially welcomed to Canberra, meeting with business leaders as part of a whirlwind day trip across the ditch.

The main purpose of the trip is a face-to-face meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, but Hipkins first met with a business roundtable this morning.

Along with others in the meeting, the PM was cleansed and welcomed by Ngunawal elder Wally Bell with a traditional smoke ceremony — using eucalyptus leaves.

In response, Hipkins said he felt privileged to visit.

The roundtable includes representatives from the Australia Bankers Association, Ryman Healthcare, Woolworths, Fonterra and Bunnings.

Hipkins arrives in Australia for first time as PM.

Prime Minister Hipkins is expected to meet Albanese and other dignitaries later today.

Stepping off the plane, the PM was greeted with an enthusiastic hug from Dame Annette King, who is the High Commissioner to Australia and a former Labour minister.

Announcing the trip last week, he said the trans-Tasman relationship was New Zealand's "closest and most important" and said it was "crucial" for Australia to be his first trip.

Hipkins said at Waitangi this week he expected to get along well with Albanese, who he had spoken to on the phone.

The fraught topic of 501 deportees and New Zealand citizens' rights in Australia are possible topics of discussion for the two, with Australia signing off on significant changes to the 501 policy less than a week ago.

The law has been controversial as it has seen New Zealanders deported back from Australia for serious crimes, even if they've lived away from Aotearoa for significant periods of time and have little to no connection with New Zealand.

Hipkins hugs former Labour MP Annette King.

It's been a whirlwind few weeks as prime minister for Hipkins, thrown almost immediately into a Civil Defence emergency with the Auckland floods, followed closely by time spent at Waitangi over the past few days.

Hipkins has a busy day tomorrow — with a Cabinet meeting which is expected to reveal any policy or work programme changes under the new prime minister.