The handsome meaning behind the NZ Prime Minister's new baby name

Hannah Rogers
June 26, 2018

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.

Gayford tweeted the same photo of the happy couple and their newborn baby on Twitter, saying: "So happy to announce our little girl has finally arrived!"

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

Ms Ardern said she and her partner had opted for the alternative spelling Neve rather than the traditional Niamh, to avoid confusion. "We're all doing really well thanks to the wonderful team at Auckland City Hospital", she said in her post.

Ardern became New Zealand's youngest prime minister when she took office through a coalition deal previous year after an inconclusive election, and now became the first woman in the country's history to give birth while in office.

"We chose Neve because we just liked it".

Ardern, who said the couple kept a short list of names, added that Neve meant "bright and radiant and snow", while Te Aroha was the name of a rural town some 140 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of Auckland where her family is from.

Te Aroha was to encompass all the names suggested by Maori iwi and also reflected where Ardern had grown up.

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Gayford said he would never forget the look on Ardern's face when she held their baby.

"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, 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.

Ardern previously said she plans to return to work at the beginning of August.

Arden is the first elected world leader to take maternity leave, handing over the reigns to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters for six weeks, and only the second to have a child while in office - both roles she has spent months downplaying.

"It's just something really lovely in a world where so much is unfair that we're all very excited about it", said Frances Gerbic, a music teacher living in Auckland.

Te Aroha is also where the 37-year-old prime minister is from.

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.

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