Real Life

The question that caused Jacinda Ardern to falter during her visit to Cashmere High School

A reminder that we are vulnerable in our strength.

A Cashmere High School student hugs Jacinda Ardern during her visit to the school. Getty Images
During the past five days Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has fielded many, many questions. She has fronted press conferences with national and international media and kept New Zealand and the rest of the world informed about the terror attacks at two Christchurch mosques on Friday, March 15, as well as the many political, social and legal developments that have unfolded since New Zealand's darkest day.
She has remained stoic and strong - staunch in her resolution not to utter the alleged gunman's name and clear in her messaging: "You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you."
But there was one question today, asked by a Christchurch teen during the Prime Minister's visit to Cashmere High School, that caused her to falter.
Ardern was visiting the school because three current and former students lost their lives in the massacre, as well as two family members' of students. Another student was in hospital after being injured.
It was her second visit to Christchurch since the attacks.
After she'd finished speaking to the students about the importance of honouring those who'd lost their lives and her intent to change New Zealand's gun laws a student near the front row simply asked, "How are you?"
When a picture tells a thousand words. An image by photographer Kirk Hargreaves of the Prime Minister during her visit with the Christchurch Muslim community on Saturday.
An enquiry after her own welfare, how she was coping in the wake of New Zealand's darkest day clearly threw her.
"How am I?" Jacinda Ardern repeated.
"Thank you for asking," she said. "I am very sad."
A simple question, a simple answer - reminding us we are all vulnerable in our strength.