US Vice-President Joe Biden: 12 things you didn’t know

The Vice-President of the free world will touch down in Auckland on Wednesday night for his first ever visit to New Zealand.

Joe Biden is here for less than 24 hours and will spend the entire visit in Auckland where he will meet Prime Minister John Key, Foreign Minister Murray McCully and other dignitaries.

His schedule is top-secret and his security entourage will likely be among the biggest and toughest New Zealand's ever seen.

So who is Joe Biden? Newshub has put together a list of facts about him you probably didn't know.

Joe Biden is the first US Vice-President to visit New Zealand since Spiro Agnew's controversial visit in 1970, which saw up to 700 protesters shout anti-Vietnam War slogans at the Vice-President during a state dinner in Auckland.

Mr Biden remains the most senior US politician to visit New Zealand since Bill Clinton attended the Apec summit in Auckland in 1999. Other high-ranking US elected officials to visit New Zealand include US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 and US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus earlier this year.

Mr Biden is teetotal. He has never had a drink of alcohol in his life due to alcoholism running in his family.

Following graduation from law school he initially thought of himself as a Republican due to his distaste for Richard Nixon.

Mr Biden became the highest-ranking government official to endorse same-sex marriage in 2012 during an appearance on "Meet the Press" despite being a catholic. President Obama followed suit relatively shortly and became the first US President to publicly support marriage equality.

Mr Biden has run for President twice - 1987 and 2008. During his 1987 campaign he was accused of plagiarizing a speech that had been made earlier that year by Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour Party. In 2008 he attracted mass criticism following describing then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean".

Throughout school Mr Biden stuttered and was often teased by his classmates. This was overcome during his time spent at Syracuse University College of Law when he befriended a stutterer and worked with him regularly on his speech.

His wife Neilia gifted him a puppy, which they called 'Senator'.

Mr Biden owns a 1967 Corvette that the Secret Service won't let him drive.

Mr Biden was first elected as a US Senator at the age of 29 and had to wait until he turned 30 to be formally appointed as a US senator.

Mr Biden carries rosary beads as a good-luck charm everywhere he goes (and loses them often, but replaces them).

His favourite food is pasta.

Source: News Hub