Pacific

New Zealand leader visits Fiji for first time in a decade

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2016 file photo, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key speaks to delegates at the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in Auckland, New Zealand. Key has visited Fiji for the first time since a military coup there a decade ago, although it's clear that political tensions remain. Key and his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama met for formal talks Friday, June 10, 2016. (David Rowland/SNPA via AP, File) NEW ZEALAND OUT

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2016 file photo, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key speaks to delegates at the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in Auckland, New Zealand. Key has visited Fiji for the first time since a military coup there a decade ago, although it's clear that political tensions remain. Key and his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama met for formal talks Friday, June 10, 2016. (David Rowland/SNPA via AP, File) NEW ZEALAND OUT  (The Associated Press)

A New Zealand leader has visited Fiji for the first time since a military coup there a decade ago, although it's clear that political tensions remain.

The visit by Prime Minister John Key was an attempt to improve relations after Fiji held democratic elections in 2014.

Key and his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama met for formal talks Friday.

Bainimarama said during a welcome speech Thursday that the "strains and irritants" between the countries in recent years provided a textbook case on how not to conduct friendly relationships between neighboring governments.

He said the relationship was now being "reinvigorated and redefined" after a period of estrangement.

Bainimarama also offered thanks to New Zealand for helping out after February's Cyclone Winston, which killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes.