First Baby: Mum thrilled her newborn has a special birthday buddy

26 June, 2018, 18:56 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford

Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford made her way down the Auckland Hospital corridor in her mother Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's arms, flanked by her exhausted but proud-looking father, Clarke Gayford.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has left hospital after giving birth to a baby girl.

On Friday Ms Ardern became the New Zealand's first female leader to give birth while in power. "We're all doing really well thanks to the wonderful team at Auckland City Hospital", she said in her post.

"It's a real pleasure to introduce our little one to you all and to New Zealand", Ardern said on Sunday, thanking both hospital staff and members of the public for their "kindness, warmth and care" over the course of her pregnancy.

She is only the second elected world leader to give birth while in office and the very first to take maternity leave while in office.

"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 said.

"Te Aroha", the name of a rural town on New Zealand's North Island, was chosen to reflect Ms Ardern's family history.

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When Deswal discovered she had the same due date as Ardern - June 17 - she realised there would be a chance the two would cross paths in hospital.

"We've gone for simplicity, because Clarke with an "e" has caused all sorts of problems, and Jacinda with a "d", she said.

"Hopefully, these things said in these moments now, I guess for want of a better word - novelty, they are still new - that one day they aren't new anymore", she said. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has taken the reins as acting prime minister. The late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was the first to do so, when her daughter Bakhtawar was born in 1990.

"We chose Neve because we liked it and when she arrived she looked like a Neve", says Ardern.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said the birth and the way the country had greeted it would be seen as inspirational by advocates for gender equality and women's empowerment. "Clarke's been as much of a role model here as I am", she said.

It's the couple's first child together, and comes eight months after the 37 year old was sworn in as Prime Minister.

She plans to take six weeks' leave before returning to work, when partner Clarke Gayford will become the child's primary caregiver.

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