New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has left the hospital after giving birth to a baby girl, revealing that she and her partner Clarke Gayford have named their new daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern-Gayford.
Speaking to reporters as she held her daughter in a blanket and beanie, an overjoyed Ardern thanked the public for their support said “we’re not placing any great expectations on this little baby except for happiness and love.”
Niamh, as it is traditionally spelled, is a name from old Irish mythology, meaning radiance or brightness, but the new parents decided to go with the simpler, modern spelling to avoid a lifetime of people tripping up over it.
Te Aroha is a rural town in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island, and is also the name of a Maori song about love and peace. Ardern says she chose it to reflect her family history, and her upbringing in the region:
“I thought ‘how do I reflect the generosity, particularly of all the iwi who gifted us names?’ and Te Aroha seemed to be a way. Te Aroha was something we settled on quite early. It was our way of reflecting the amount of love this baby’s been shown before she even arrived.”
Thanking all of those who sent congratulations and gifts for the new baby – many of them hand-knitted – she said: “Those moments have mattered as much to us as any of those lovely messages of support from around the world.”
Jacinda Ardern, who took New Zealand’s top job in October, is only the second world leader to give birth while in office. The late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was the first to do so, when her daughter Bakhtawar was born in 1990.