- Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, brought her newborn baby to the United Nations General Assembly – becoming the first ever world leader to do so.
- Ardern’s partner, Clarke Gayford, travelled with her to New York to help care for the three-month-old.
- Photos of the leader with her baby are making an impact online.
- Ardern received praise from leaders like former US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made history on Monday evening when she became the first world leader to attend the United Nations General Assembly with her newborn baby.
Ardern, only the second elected world leader to give birth while in office, brought her infant baby Neve to the gathering, where she held the three-month-old before delivering a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit.
While Ardern was speaking, her partner Clarke Gayford, who travelled to New York on the family’s dime to help care for Neve, held the baby on his lap. Gayford is a stay-at-home dad, and the couple has spoken candidly about their experience parenting while in office.
“What I consistently acknowledge is that I have assistants who help Clarke with the ability to juggle his career and be our primary caregiver,” Ardern told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. What has struck me is the number of men and women who have said ‘We do the same thing.’ There’s a lot of discussion … And we need to normalize that, too.”
See baby Neve at the UN:
Sinéad Baker contributed to this report.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern sits with her partner, Clarke Gayford, baby Neve, and several aides during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Ardern kisses baby Neve before delivering a speech to the General Assembly.
Gayford holds baby Neve as Ardern speaks at the UN.
Ardern listens to UN proceedings while holding baby Neve.
Ardern delivered her speech at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the UN on Monday evening.
Gayford documented the stress of travelling halfway around the world and attending dozens of meetings with an infant …
37 hours of flying
A Plus 1
Arrived at 1am tired but all set:
Neve until 3.45am: "whats a timezone??"
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) September 23, 2018
… and he kept the internet abreast of the baby’s reception.
Because everyone on twitter's been asking to see Neve's UN id, staff here whipped one up.
I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change.
Great yarn for her 21st. pic.twitter.com/838BI96VYX
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) September 24, 2018
Baby Neve has so far received a warm welcome at the General Assembly. Samantha Power, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, praised the precedent Ardern set by bringing her child to the gathering.
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) September 25, 2018
Heiko Maas, Germany’s minister of foreign affairs, also welcomed baby Neve to the gathering.
Warm welcome to the youngest guest of #UNGA :
— Heiko Maas ???????? (@HeikoMaas) September 25, 2018
The UN Foundation’s official account was a fan, too.
At our #SocialGood Summit, she told us:
“If you ask why I'm in politics, my answer is simple—children. I genuinely believe our success as politicians should be based on the status of children.” https://t.co/6tKo8HpuB8
— United Nations Foundation (@unfoundation) September 25, 2018
The internet couldn’t get enough.
— Foxy (@FoxyLustyGrover) September 25, 2018
Many women found it inspirational.
When ordinary becomes extraordinary. Baby care & breastfeeding in the UNGA. The New Zealand Prime Minister had her 3 months old baby in the #UNGA73. The baby was given “First Baby” ID. A strong message. Thank you PM Ardern! @jacindaardern pic.twitter.com/emzEd2RxlQ
— Suraya Dalil (@DalilSuraya) September 25, 2018
One fan urged the creation of a “baby UN.”
This story is important because:
1. This should be the norm
2. The presence of a child may help politicians keep things in perspective
3. A reminder that we need a baby UNhttps://t.co/IzBbJHmyTT
— Cameron Williams (@MrCamW) September 25, 2018
In June, the 38-year-old prime minister became the first-ever world leader to take maternity leave while in office.
“I credit the women who came before me and credit New Zealanders for welcoming me having a child,” Ardern said. “Positivity outweighed negativity. I’m proud of the nation.”
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