NZ PM Jacinda Ardern, Gayford explain baby’s name, Neve Te Aroha

By @chelean on
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern carries her newborn baby Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford with her partner Clarke Gayfor as she walks out of the Auckland Hospital in New Zealand, June 24, 2018.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern carries her newborn baby Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford with her partner Clarke Gayford as she walks out of the Auckland Hospital in New Zealand, June 24, 2018. Reuters/Ross Land

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have revealed the name of their daughter, born June 21. The couple have explained why they settled on Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford.

The 37-year-old Kiwi leader stood by her partner as she cradled their newborn in her arms. Ardern and Gayford said they kept a shortlist of names before they settled on the two names that they thought best fit the newest member of their family.

“We chose Neve because we just liked it,” she told reporters. “And when we met her, we thought she looked like she suited the name.”

She added, “It also means, in various forms, bright and radiant and snow, which seemed like a good combination for Matariki (Maori new year) and for solstice.”

They opted for the traditional spelling of Neve rather than Niamh, which is how it is traditional spelt in Ireland, to avoid confusion. “We’ve gone for simplicity because Clarke with an ‘e’ has caused all sorts of problems, and Jacinda with a ‘d,’” Ardern said.

As for Te Aroha, that is the name of the rural some about 140 kilometres of Auckland where her family is from. In Maori, Ahora means love.

“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.”

Ardern has received worldwide attention following the birth of Neve Te Aroha on Thursday. She is the second female world leader who has given birth while in office, and the first to take a maternity leave. Her pregnancy and subsequent delivery have prompted national conversation about women working and giving birth. 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.

While facing reporters on Sunday, Ardern said Gayford was just as praiseworthy. “Clarke’s been as much of a role model here as I am,” she said. She would be taking a six-week maternity leave, with Winston Peters serving as acting prime minister during that period. She will then go back to serving full time in office, with her 40-year-old partner taking over the primary care of their daughter. The father and daughter will travel with her from Auckland to Wellington and on international trips if necessary.

Gayford said there was one special moment during their baby’s birth that he would always remember.

“I won’t forget the look on Jacinda’s face when she finally held the baby,” he said.

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