Jacinda Ardern was planning her wedding while a group plotted to gate crash.

Over the weekend, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern got married to her partner of 10 years, Clarke Gayford, in a beautiful vineyard in Hawke's Bay.

She wore an elegant halter neck dress by designer Juliette Hogan, and her five-year-old daughter Neve walked down the aisle with Ardern's dad, wearing a dress made from Ardern's mother's wedding dress. 

There were quirky canapes, a star-studded guest list and a dinner designed by an international head chef. 

But as the bride entered the vineyard on her wedding day, she was confronted by a familiar scene at the gates. Protesters, shouting, and placards calling her names. 

Ardern stepped down as Prime Minister nearly a year ago, but the anger towards her and her policies from a particular group of New Zealanders hasn't simmered. Her Wedding Day proved that. 

Signs reading "Lest we forget jab mandates," and "this s*** is bananas" were waved, anti-mandate propaganda was blasted from a boombox and the gates to the venue were plastered with 'death signs' featuring photos of New Zealanders who supposedly died from vaccine side effects as a result of mandates. 

Watch some of the protesters below. Post continues after video.

Video via Twitter

Police had been expecting them and were ready and waiting as the nuptials approached. A marked police car was even parked at the summit of Te Mata Peak which overlooked the winery, with one local telling The Daily Mail, they wouldn't have been surprised if someone tried to hang a sign up there to ruin the view.


During the peak of COVID-19, New Zealand had some of the harshest rules in the world. By closing borders early and introducing stringent quarantine rules and snap lockdowns, Ardern was able to keep the country's death toll comparatively low. But her strict approach made her a lightning rod for not just local anti-vaxxers, but global unhinged conspiracy theorist networks. 

It can't be ignored that she undoubtedly faced a level of virulence that a man in her place wouldn't. From the start of her tenure, she attracted ugliness as a young female leader, an example being the prominent New Zealand economist who said she would need to prove she was more than "lipstick on a pig".

Jacinda Ardern resigned as Prime Minister in early 2023. Image: Getty. 


While some were loud about their distaste for Ardern, data from the University of Auckland showed the majority of the most consistent hateful vitriol came from the darker corners of the web, on platforms like Gab, 4Chan, Telegram, Reddit and 8Kun. 

The posts gradually grew from 2019, increasing markedly in late 2021. 

Of the posts the research team's language tools classified as strongly negative, angry, sexually explicit or toxic, those mentioning the PM made up 93 per cent of the total. 

When Ardern resigned, she told reporters she had "nothing left in the tank," and "slept well for the first time in a long time" after making the decision to leave. Reading between the lines, it's obvious the constant personalisation and vilification helped drive her from office. 

For a year she has stayed out of the limelight, joining Harvard University for a semester as a Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow and as a Hauser Leader in the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. She has posted sporadically on social media - mainly sharing family snaps on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. 

But a year has done nothing to dilute her haters. They've remained obsessed with her every move, and plotting her downfall. In short, they want her arrested for crimes against humanity and 'state-sanctioned murder'. 

Their hatred is so visceral they couldn't even let her enjoy her wedding day, but in doing so any respect or understanding for their plight is squandered. 

The right to protest peacefully is a defining feature of a liberal democracy. But the wedding day of an ex-PM is not the time or place, instead, it just reveals the ugliness behind the motive. 

Feature image: EPA/AAP/Felicity Jean Photography.

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