Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Makes History By Taking Maternity Leave

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Makes History By Taking Maternity Leave

Baby will receive her first bath Saturday afternoon and the PM's mother Laurell Ardern is also expected to visit.

Niamh, as it is traditionally spelled, is a name from old Irish mythology, meaning radiance or brightness, but the new parents chose to go with the simpler, modern spelling to avoid a lifetime of people tripping up over it.

At the same press conference, the 37-year-old announced the baby would be called Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, or Neve Gayford for short.

"She looked absolutely stunned and just very, very happy".

Ardern answered questions with a broad smile while rocking Neve back and forth as she slept.

Her second name, Te Aroha, which means "love" in Te Reo Maori, one of the country's national languages, was a nod to the many Maori iwi, or tribes, that had offered names as a gift to Ardern while she was pregnant.

"So I hope for little girls and boys that there's a future where they can make choices about how they raise their family and what kind of career they have, that are just based on what they want and what makes them happy", she said.

Although she will become the first elected world leader to take maternity leave - and only the second to have a child while in office - Ms Ardern has played down the significant global attention she's received as a role model.


"Hopefully these things, in these moments, for lack of a better word are novelty, but perhaps one day they won't be", she said of giving birth in office as prime minister.

"Sleep deprived, but really well", Ardern said.

Ms Ardern left Auckland City Hospital this morning with partner Clarke Gayford by her side.

Cradling their first child, a beaming Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford on Sunday greeted media for the first time since arriving at Auckland Hospital on Thursday.

Ardern is the first world leader in almost 30 years to have a child while in office.

The name, which has Irish origins, is traditionally spelt Niamh and variously means "bright", "radiant" and "snow", Ms Ardern said. She previously said that she was able to do everything because she had "enormous support around me and it makes me quite privileged", refusing the impression that women had to be super human to do all.

The couple announced the birth of their baby girl Thursday on Instagram, saying they feel "very lucky". She will take six weeks of parental leave before returning to work, at which point Mr Gayford, the host of a television show about fishing, will become a stay-at-home parent.

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