New Zealand’s prime minister has introduced the public to her daughter and revealed the newborn’s name.
A beaming Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford on Sunday greeted media for the first time since arriving at Auckland Hospital on Thursday.
The 37-year-old began by announcing the baby would be called Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford – or Neve Gayford for short.
“When we met her we thought she looked like she suited the name,” she told reporters.
“Also it means, in various forms, bright and radiant and snow, which seemed like a good combination for Matariki (Maori new year) and for solstice.”
Aroha in Maori means love and Te Aroha is also the name of a mountain near where Ms Ardern’s family come from.
“Te Aroha was our way of reflecting the amount of love this baby has been shown before she arrived and all of the names we were gifted along the way (by various iwi – or tribes),” Ms Ardern.
She and Mr Gayford had opted to spell the name Neve – as opposed to Niamh for example – for simplicity, with Ms Ardern joking about the unusual spellings of Clarke and Jacinda.
The couple also described the first moment they met Neve.
One of the many special people we have been so grateful for over these past few months, our wonderful midwife Libby. Not only is she incredible at what she does, this morning she made me macaroni and cheese because she heard me mention a wee craving yesterday. Thank you so much for everything Libby!
“I won’t forget the look on Jacinda’s face when she finally held the baby. It was all a bit of a blur for the both of us … She looks absolutely just stunned and very, very happy,” Mr Gayford said.
Since the birth on Thursday, Ms Ardern has been inundated with messages from world leaders, including the Queen, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – who have sent a handwritten note saying they look forward to meeting later in the year.
“But as equally special to us were just those people who took time to send a little note, or a blanket or a set of booties,” Ms Ardern said.
The family will now leave the hospital to spend a stint at home and away from the spotlight.
“Over the next six weeks we’ll do what every other parent does and learn the little nuisances … and just figure things out as we go.”
Ms Ardern has become the first elected world leader to take maternity leave but for the six weeks will still be on call for major government issues.
Mr Gayford will be the child’s primary carer once the prime minister returns to parliament.
“Clarke’s being as much or a role model here as I am,” Ms Ardern told reporters on Sunday.
“I hope for little girls and boys there’s a future where they can make choices about how they raise their family and what kind of career they have based on what they want.”
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