NZ prime minister back home with baby Neve Te Aroha

AUCKLAND • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed her newborn daughter would be called Neve as she left an Auckland hospital yesterday, and expressed hope that one day a woman giving birth in office would no longer be a "novelty".

Speaking publicly for the first time since her delivery last Thursday - which made waves around the world - Ms Ardern said she and her partner Clarke Gayford had settled on the full name of Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford for their first child.

"We chose Neve because we just liked it, and when we met her we thought she looked like she suited the name," the 37-year-old told reporters as she cradled her daughter in her arms.

Ms 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 140km south-east of Auckland where her family is from.

She said she was blown away by well-wishes locally and internationally, including from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.

Ms Ardern is only the second world leader to give birth while in office, after former Pakistan PM Benazir Bhutto, and said she hoped such experiences would not be unusual in the future.

"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.

A FUTURE OF CHOICES

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

MS JACINDA ARDERN

Her partner, a 40-year-old television fishing personality, will be a stay-at-home dad while the Prime Minister will return to work after six weeks' maternity leave.

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

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2018, with the headline 'NZ prime minister back home with baby Neve Te Aroha'. Print Edition | Subscribe