The story of Jacinda Ardern is a remarkable rise to power for a woman who was raised on a modest apple farm. Born in Hamilton on July 26, 1980, the Kiwi native would grow up in Murupara while her father Ross operated in the community as a policeman.
The field of politics was something that always kept Ardern curious. As she balanced work duties at a nearby fish and chip shop, she would graduate with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in PR and politics from the University of Waikato.
To broaden her horizons having become the youngest member of the Labour party at just 17, she travelled to New York City. This trip became notable because Ardern would volunteer at a soup kitchen to feed the homeless.
2005 would see Ardern leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to her support for gay rights and same-sex marriage, a stance that would be in opposition to the church and their beliefs.
London was the next destination for Ardern, extending her CV in the field of international politics. She would operate as a policy adviser for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. It would be the setting for her to question Blair over the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War in 2011.
Human rights remained on the agenda for the Labour Party loyalist, becoming the President of the International Unions of Socialist Youth. It would open doors to various travel opportunities across Asia, particularly Jordan, China and Lebanon.
Although international politics is where Jacinda Ardern truly made her name, she would have a stint performing as a DJ at Auckland’s Laneway Festival. Local New Zealand acts like Opossom and Street Chart have been said to be among her favourites, but the Beatles are also a music preference for the national leader.
Yet it would be elected office that became her calling in 2008. Ardern stood for the Labour candidate in Waikato and became the youngest sitting MP in parliament at just 30 years of age.
Ardern would meet her husband Clarke Gayford in 2012 while he was operating as a television presenter, becoming engaged seven years later on May 3, 2019.
As leader of the opposition heading into the 2017 national election, the positive media coverage and swarm of public support would see the term ‘Jacindamania’ created. Even international outlets including CNN would place a focus on the election, standing as the second female leader of her party following Helen Clark.
Jacinda Ardern would rise to become the head of her government at the age of 37 on October 26, 2017. This would be the youngest age for a female in that position anywhere around the globe.
To add to this historic moment, she would only be the second head of government to give birth while in office, joining former Pakistan Prime Minister Banazir Bhutto who served two separate terms in the country.
Jacinda Ardern is proud to call herself a progressive and a socialist to signify her political philosophies. She would famously outline that capitalism as a global system has been a blatant failure given the causes that she has decided to champion. The top of her agenda for the Labour Party has been social inequality and a housing crisis that has adversely impacted New Zealand communities for years.
The atrocity that occurred at Christchurch on March 15, 2019 would be the basis for Jacinda Ardern to lead on New Zealand gun reform. The far right terrorist attack at Al Noor Mosque killed 51 and injured 49 people. She would push forward with a royal commission into the tragedy before gun reform was enacted.
The Prime Minister remains a supporter of the Super Rugby franchise side the Chiefs. Jacinda Ardern would make second for the World’s Greatest Leaders in 2019 for Fortune Magazine.