A nation is holding its breath. New Zealand’s prime minister has arrived at the hospital to have her first child.

Jacinda Ardern’s office on Thursday morning confirmed she had turned the reigns over to her deputy after arriving at Auckland Hospital.

The 37-year-old and her partner, television presenter Clarke Gayford, have not yet revealed the sex of the baby, which was due on Sunday.

While determined to keep working until the day, Ms Ardern has for weeks now been the target of an avalanche of personal questions, parenting advice and intense media attention.

She’s expected to briefly speak to reporters after the birth.

Although she will become the first elected world leader to take maternity leave – and only the second to have a child while in office – Ms Ardern has played down the significant global attention she’s received as a role model.


“I do not want to create a false impression that all women should be super-human or super-women,” she said recently. 

“I am able to do what I’m doing because I have enormous support around me and it makes me quite privileged.”

The pregnancy news late last 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.

Recently, she’s has also had to talk down her absence from politics, assuring her country it’ll be business as usual during her six weeks off.

While the day-to-do prime-ministerial duties will be handled by the polarising, 73-year-old deputy PM Winston Peters, Ms Ardern will still be on call for any major decisions.



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