New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who gave birth while in office, has made history by bringing her three-month-old daughter into the United Nations assembly hall. Ardern appeared with her infant daughter at the UN on Monday evening and played with her before giving a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit. While she spoke, Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford held the baby on his lap. Ardern gave birth to Neve Te Aroha at Auckland Hospital on 21 June and returned to work in early August after taking six weeks maternity leave.
On being asked if it was harder to govern New Zealand or take her daughter on a 17-hour flight, Ardern responded with a laugh and said “It felt at the time on par” and said she had apologised to her fellow passengers in advance. Ardern revealed that juggling parenthood and the prime ministership had “met my expectations” but the joy she felt at Neve “had far surpassed my expectations”. Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford – a fishing television presenter – is Neve’s primary carer, and has travelled with Ardern to New York to look after the baby. Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is the only other world leader to give birth while in office when she had a baby girl in January 1990.