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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is engaged to her partner of seven years, Clarke Gayford.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is engaged to her partner of seven years, Clarke Gayford.

According to Stuff, a spokesman for the prime minister said Ardern and Gayford became engaged over the Easter weekend.

On Friday, during a ceremony on the West Coast of New Zealand, reporters spotted a ring on Ardern’s left hand, believed to be her engagement ring.

Ardern and Gayford first met in 2012. She was a Labour MP and he was TV personality, best known for his show Fish of the Day.

Gayford was hosting the Metro Restaurant Awards and Ardern was attending the event with model and TV personality Colin Mathura-Jeffree, who had been featured on the cover of that month’s Metro magazine.

The pair later spent time together when Gayford approached Ardern with a constituency issue. They met for a coffee. Then another. Then another. Their coffee dates eventually turned into something more serious.

For their first official date, Gayford took Ardern fishing. He later told the New Zealand Women’s Weekly that he knew Ardern was the one when she caught a “5.4kg snapper”.

“The signs couldn’t have been clearer,” he said.

“We don’t really talk about it publicly. She’s definitely been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I didn’t know what it meant to work hard until I started seeing what she does on a daily basis,” Gayford told the NZ Herald in 2016.

In October 2017, Ardern became the third female Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Three weeks later, she learned she was pregnant.

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In June 2018, the couple welcomed a daughter together who they named Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford – or Neve Gayford for short.

“When we met her we thought she looked like she suited the name,” Ardern told reporters at the time.

“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 Ardern’s hometown.

“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),” she explained.

When little Neve arrived, they decided Gayford would put his career on hold so he could stay at home with her. Gayford and Neve often accompany Ardern on international visits.

“We weighed it up and we decided that her job was possibly slightly more important. It was always on the cards to work out that way. I’ve always been completely supportive of Jacinda and I believe in what she’s trying to achieve for New Zealand. So, it was easy for me to make that call. There are plenty of males out there that do that,” the dad-of-one told the Australian Women’s Weekly.

“He’s exactly as I expected him to be, completely doting, very dedicated, really patient. I feel they’ve got in-jokes already, I don’t even know how that’s possible, but they do. And he of course will dress Neve, so there are a lot of ‘I heart Dad’ socks and shirts,” Ardern told Woman’s Day.

In recent months, Ardern has attracted significant attention for the way she dealt with the Christchurch terror attack.

When a gunman murdered 50 people in two mosques on Friday, March 15, Ardern immediately committed to changing New Zealand’s gun laws – a promise that was fulfilled within the week. She announced a period of national mourning, and offered compensation to all victims, including the full cost of their funerals.

Wearing a black headscarf, Ardern spent the following days embracing mourners – the optics of which sent a clear message of solidarity.

“On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us,” Ardern wrote in their national condolence book.

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Ardern has since refused to use the name of the terrorist. Addressing parliament, she said: “You will never hear me mention his name.

“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist.

“But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”

Gayford has been deeply supportive of Ardern’s career and her political decisions, sharing a tribute to her in March.

And now, people all over the world are celebrating their engagement.

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