New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed her newborn daughter would be called Neve as she left an Auckland hospital Sunday, 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 on Thursday — which made waves around the world — 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.
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.
“We wanted to say thank you (to New Zealanders for their support) and we are all doing really well. Sleep deprived, but super well,” she said.
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.
“And that it’s generally accepted, not just that women can make choices, but actually that men can too,” Ardern added, referring to Gayford, who was standing beside her.
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.
“Clarke’s been as much of a role model here as I am, and that’s something that I think a lot of people talk about too and it’s true,” Ardern said.