WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key apologized on Wednesday for pulling the ponytail of a waitress who accused him of bullying, media reported.

The unnamed waitress in an Auckland cafe said on a blog site that Key had pulled her hair over several months and initially she thought he was being "playful and jolly".

However, she said Key kept pulling her hair when he visited the cafe over a six-month period and she became increasingly annoyed.

"He was like the school yard bully tugging on the little girl's hair trying to get a reaction, experiencing that feeling of power over her," the waitress said in the blog.

She said she finally confronted Key in late March and threatened to hit him if he did not stop. She said Key returned to the cafe and gave her two bottles of red wine and said sorry.

Key, en route to Turkey for the commemoration of World War One battles, said he visited the cafe, close to his house, often and he had a "fun relationship" with the staff.

"There's always lots of horsing around and sort of practical jokes and that's all there really was to it," he told reporters during a stopover in Los Angeles.

"...I realized she had actually taken offence because it was all in the context of a bit of banter that was going on and so I obviously immediately apologized for that."

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Nick Macfie)