New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern looked glowing as she left hospital with her partner and newborn baby on Sunday, before revealing the sweet and very unusual name they have chosen for her.
The inspirational politician welcomed her baby girl with partner Clarke Gayford on Thursday, and shared a moving photo of them together in hospital at the time.
Now, addressing reporters outside Auckland City Hospital, they have revealed they have named their first daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, or just ‘Neve Gayford’ for short.
Neve is traditionally spelt as Niamh, and has classic Irish roots meaning “bright and radiant”.
“I also wanted to start by, on behalf of Clarke and I, thanking everyone here at Auckland City Hospital for the kindness, the warmth and the care that they have shown since the time that we arrived,” Jacinda said outside.
She went on to speak about the streams of messages they have received from members of the public, and the kindness shown to them from everyone including security staff, nurses, and cleaning staff in the hospital.
“To me in those moments and those messages, we just saw a reflection of how open and generous New Zealanders are, and that has been the case all the way through,” she added before joking: “We’re all doing really well. Sleep deprived, but really well!”
The 37-year-old leader was admitted to hospital early Thursday morning and a statement released by her office confirmed that the PM was in labour.
Ardern said she “feels very lucky” and thanked everyone for their best wishes after the birth, as she updated her social media accounts from the comfort of her hospital bed.
Neve is Ardern’s first child and she weighed in at 3.31kg when she made her way into the world at 4.45pm on Thursday 21 June.
Ardern announced she was pregnant back in January, just months after she’d taken office as the country’s third female prime minister. At the time, she said she’d found out about the pregnancy just one week before her Labour Party formed government and that it came as a surprise to her, and her partner, as they believed they would not be able to conceive naturally.
She told Sky News: “We had been told that it was unlikely that we would be able to have a family without help. It was a week before (Deputy Prime Minister) Winston Peters made his decision about how to form a coalition government….so it’s been a long time to carry that secret.”
Ardern is one of only a few female leaders to give birth while holding office – the most recent being former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto, who had her daughter in 1990. And, despite not holding political office, Queen Elizabeth II of course welcomed all four of her children during her reign.