Singapore's PM Lee congratulates New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern on daughter's birth

Jun 24, 2018, 19:14
Singapore's PM Lee congratulates New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern on daughter's birth

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.

The baby's full name is Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford.

"We chose Neve because we liked it and when she arrived she looked like a Neve", says Ardern.

"When we met her we thought she looked like she suited the name", she said.

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 chosen to reflect "the amount of love that this baby has been shown before she was even arrived".

Niamh, as it is traditionally spelled, is a name from old Irish mythology, meaning radiance or brightness, but the new parents made a decision to go with the simpler, modern spelling to avoid a lifetime of people tripping up over it.

Picture: TVNZThe couple seemed smitten with their newborn daughter.

All the presents for baby Neve would be passed on to another family once they had been used, Ms Ardern said.

Jacinda Ardern is New Zealand's first leader to give birth while in power.Ardern insists it will be business as usual during her six weeks off. Can you remember leaving hospital after giving birth?

"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".

The beaming pair greeted media on Sunday for the first time since arriving at Auckland Hospital on Thursday.

The pregnancy news late previous year came as a surprise to Ms Ardern, who then had to simultaneously deal with both intense negotiations to form a government and morning sickness.

She answered a few questions from reporters while holding her baby at Auckland City Hospital before she planned on returning home.

"We're not placing any great expectations on this little baby except happiness and love".

"Thank you so much for your best wishes and your kindness".

During her six weeks of maternity leave, Winston Peters will be filling in as acting prime minister.

The island nation, with a population of 4.5 million, was in the grips of a baby-induced glow of optimism in recent days with many social media users dubbing the baby the "Prime Miniature" while they waited for her name to be announced.

She posted a photo to her Instagram account, saying: "Welcome to our village wee one".