New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern jokes that her 'very intimate' engagement mostly went unnoticed
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has opened up about her engagement with partner Clarke Gayford.
Addressing her first media briefing Monday after news of her engagement with Gayford went public last week, Ardern divulged some of the details of how the proposal went down and what plans they had for the future.
Ardern's chief press secretary Andrew Campbell had revealed that the couple had gotten engaged during the Easter holiday weekend last month. However, there had been no confirmation until Monday, May 6, according to CNN.
Ardern said the proposal took place over the Easter weekend while they were on top of Mokotahi Hill in Mahia, Hawke's Bay, in front of a select group of witnesses. "It was Clarke, myself, a member of the DPS [Diplomatic Protection Service], so very intimate," she joked. "Couple of locals from Mahia and a dog that tried to eat the chocolate Clarke bought me, so it was very romantic."
When she was asked if the 41-year-old Gayford — who is well-known in New Zealand for his work in hosting a fishing television show and before that, presenting a youth-focused music TV channel — had gotten down on one knee to ask her the big question, she implied he hadn't.
"The DPS were up there and they had no idea what had happened, so that should be a bit of a giveaway to you," she explained. She didn't go into much further detail about the big event, showing skepticism when she was told that the public was eager to have more information.
"Are they really? Are they?" she said. "There are some things I wouldn't mind keeping for us. This is a very public job and I'm quite happy to put quite a bit of ourselves out there, but there are some things I wouldn't mind keeping to ourselves."
She also said she had no idea when she would tie the knot with Gayford, with whom she shares 11-month-old Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford. "I was surprised by the question, as were probably many other couples, and that means we haven't made many plans, in fact, any plans at all."
Ardern already made history when she became only the second elected leader to give birth while in office after Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto in 1990. If she marries while in office as expected, she will again become one of the first major world leaders to do so in recent years.
The news of her engagement first made the news when she was seen sporting a ring on her middle finger rather than the traditional fourth finger. "I have not been trying to hide our news from anyone. It simply does not fit on the right finger, so that's why it's sitting on the middle."
But she did not give in to requests to hold up her hand so media could catch a glimpse of the ring, which once belonged to Gayford's grandmother. "I'd prefer not to lower the tone of the Beehive's theatrette by flashing [it] — you've got good zoom lenses," she said.