Bill English had the classic politician’s dilemma – stick with the photo op or move on to urgent formal business?

And he took the politician’s option – compromise.

Called to sit with a primary school ukulele orchestra in the Niuean ‘capital’ of Alofi, he stuck with it as the kids launched into a merry tune.

A wee one beside him looked up at him for a bit and he had a quiet word before looking out towards his staff who had the Niue Premier and dignitaries waiting for a tourism briefing inside.

English positioned himself to get up from the front row of kids, thought better of spoiling the moment and sat back. A few more bars, but then, the call of the statesman got to him, he stood gingerly and gave a half wave to the playing children before disappearing to the serious business of Pacific touring.

The little girl shuffled over a bit, unmoved, and the band played on.

Tim Murphy is co-editor of Newsroom. He writes about politics, Auckland, and media. Twitter: @tmurphynz

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