Happy birthday Neve! New Zealand’s First Baby turns one!

And what a first year it has been!

She won’t even be aware of the momentousness of the occasion, but today, June 21, is a Very Big Day for Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford because it’s her first birthday.

Her mum, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, told The AM Show that she and fiancé Clarke Gayford will mark their little girl’s big day with “fairly low key” celebrations.

“I think the way I am going to describe it is we will be doing exactly the same thing most parents do on first birthdays, celebrating with a few family and friends.”

It will be “an acknowledgement that we made it through the first year”, she said.

New Zealand’s First Baby has largely been kept out of the limelight in her first year, but by virtue of the fact her mum is one of only two leaders in the world to have given birth in office, every time we do see Neve it’s Very Big News.

Our first encounter was in June 2018, three days after her birth, when Ardern and Gayford introduced their newborn baby girl to New Zealand by way of a press conference at Auckland Hospital.

Her parents looked jubilant; well wishes poured in from around the world.

Ardern told the delighted assembled press that there would be no expectations placed on Neve, other than that she hoped for her “happiness and love”.

Gayford said he would not forget the look on Ardern’s face when she finally got to hold their baby – he said “she looked absolutely stunned and very, very happy” – and Ardern acknowledged Gayford as being “as much a role model as I am” in his choice to be Neve’s main caregiver once Ardern returned to work.

The first family portrait.

In August Neve’s mum and dad released this family portrait. Taken by Derek Henderson from the Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand it shows the family in their Sandringham home, which Ardern and Gayford purchased while Ardern was pregnant with Neve.

The peggy-square blanket that Neve is wrapped in was a gift from a local school.

Neve was the first baby to attend the UN General Assembly.

At three months old Neve made history when her mum became the first world leader to bring a baby to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Three-month-old Neve had her own fake security pass in which she was titled “New Zealand First Baby” and she was swamped by cooing world leaders.

Ardern told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that she wanted to “normalise” the concept of permissive workplaces for working mothers.

“And I do think that if we want to make our workplaces more permissive… more open then we need to acknowledge that there are logistical challenges that come with that…

“I hope that, in part, just by being a bit more open, which I accept brings vulnerability… it might create a path for other women.”

We all got to share in the joy when Neve started crawling at nine months. Her proud dad posted on Twitter, “For her 9 month birthday today we received the gift of crawling. While her mum got her the gift of having a safer country to grow up in.”

Gayford was referring to Ardern’s announcement that New Zealand would ban semi-automatic weapons in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

His tweet linking the two accomplishments has been liked over 10,000 times and shared over 1000 times.

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Pink with daughter Willow. Neve had a ‘playdate’ with Pink’s children while the two mums caught up in Auckland last September.

And when Pink performed in Auckland last September she also made time to fit in a ‘playdate’ for her two children, Willow and Jameson Hart, with Neve.

Pink’s backstage area was set up with toys and kid-friendly activities for the trio, and the two mums, who are each fans of the other, caught up.

If Neve’s first year is anything to go by, she looks set to have an Exciting Life.

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