NZ leader Ardern, long-time partner finally get engaged

Cheryl Sanders
May 3, 2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, "first bloke" Clarke Gayford, are engaged.

Ardern's press secretary said she has been wearing a ring since Easter but it has been on a middle finger, not the traditional ring finger.

Ardern and Gayford met in 2012 at an awards ceremony, which the future Prime Minister attended as the plus-one of New Zealand model and TV personality Colin Mathura-Jeffree.

Ms Ardern gave birth to their first child Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford on 21 June a year ago.

Ardern's long, but unmarried, relationship has been the subject of frequent media curiosity, with Ardern having to frequently deny engagement rumours in the past.

When asked earlier this year whether she could consider proposing to Gayford, Ardern told the BBC she wanted to "put him through the pain and torture of having to agonise about that question himself".

This is all, and I can not stress this enough, EXTREMELY BLOODY CUTE.

It was only the second time an elected world leader had given birth while in office, the first time being former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto.

The 38-year-old Ms Ardern has been praised internationally for her compassionate handling of the March 15 attacks in Christchurch, where a gunman killed 51 worshippers at two mosques.

She tweeted: "What lovely news to start the weekend - congratulations Clarke and Jacinda!"

In an eyebrow-raising interview with the BBC a year ago, Ms Ardern was asked whether she had any plans to propose to Mr Gayford.

On both occasions she quashed the speculation, saying she had to constantly swap her rings between fingers on her left hand due to eczema.

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