New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her daughter Neve have made a rare appearance together to visit New Zealand’s Treaty Grounds.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her daughter Neve have made a rare appearance together to visit New Zealand’s Treaty Grounds.

Jacinda and her baby make rare appearance

Jacinda Ardern and her daughter have made a rare appearance together, stepping onto sacred Treaty Grounds in Waitangi, ahead of New Zealand's national day.

The Prime Minister, along with 18-month-old Neve and her partner Clarke Gayford, were photographed as they visited the ceremonial site, in the Bay of Islands.

Every year on February 6, dignitaries and officials gather at Waitangi to mark Waitangi Day.

The day is culturally significant as it commemorates the first signing of New Zealand's founding document.

Jacinda Ardern was photographed with her 18-month-old daughter Neve as the pair speed onto the ceremonial grounds of Waitangi. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern was photographed with her 18-month-old daughter Neve as the pair speed onto the ceremonial grounds of Waitangi. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

While the day is one of official remembrance, in the past there has been tension between some Maori and former party leaders.

However, political commentators have said, the government's welcome onto the Treaty Grounds ahead of the national day, has shown New Zealand's capacity to evolve.

The Australian Associated Press reports on Tuesday morning, Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little gave a speech entirely in Maori (te reo), a move warmly received by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"We'd discussed the fact he would be giving (the speech) as part of Labour's response. I still didn't quite expect that. We were all incredibly moved," Ardern said.

The New Zealand Prime Minister is only the second leader in the world to have given birth while still in office. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
The New Zealand Prime Minister is only the second leader in the world to have given birth while still in office. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

The national holiday was first declared in 1974 and marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6, 1840 by Maori chiefs and the British Crown.

The signing of the treaty confirmed formal European settlement in New Zealand. This granted Maori the rights of British Citizens and ownership of their lands.

Ongoing recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi as the nation's founding document has been fraught.

Academics Sandra Morrison and Ingrid Huygens say the debate has long raged over the parties involved in its signing, namely the rangatira (chiefs) and New Zealand's first governor William Hobson on behalf of the British Crown, who had different understandings and expectations as to what they had signed and what authority they would exercise.

Neve, along with Clarke Gayford, Ardern’s partner, (pictured) were warmly welcomed on to the ceremonial site. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Neve, along with Clarke Gayford, Ardern’s partner, (pictured) were warmly welcomed on to the ceremonial site. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Reconciliatory efforts have been ongoing and since the Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1989, it has heard and settled 54 treaty claims and made redress of more than $NZ1.5 billion.

Politicised tensions in the past have resulted in several public spats at the commemorative site, often resulting in headlines.

Four years ago, a woman cried "thanks for raping our sovereignty" as she threw a dildo at finance minister Steven Joyce, reported AAP

A decade back, former prime minister John Key was assaulted by two men as he embraced his Maori Affairs minister, while long ago, former PM Helen Clark broke into tears when she was denied speaking rights.



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