New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s tenure as prime minister is marked by an emotional farewell on Tuesday. The farewell, which was held in the small town of Ratana, north of the capital Wellington, was attended by many politicians and Maori elders.
Ardern, in her last speech as a prime minister, said: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the greatest privilege of my life,”
She further said: “My overall experience in this job of New Zealand and New Zealanders in this job has been one of love, empathy and kindness,”
Despite being a victim of hate and abuse by right-wing extremists on different social media platforms, Ardern said that her heart was full of love as she left the job.
“I want you to know I leave with a greater love and affection for Aotearoa New Zealand and its people than when I started.”
Ardern, with a broad smile, said she was ready to be a backbench MP, a sister, and a mum.
“I am ready to be lots of things. I’m ready to be a back bench MP (member of parliament). I’m ready to be a sister and a mum,” she said.
Ardern is a mother of a four-year-old daughter Neve, who starts going to school in June.
Ardern, for her farewell, opted for a black dress with a traditional Maori cloak known as Korowai. The elders delivered appreciation speeches and performed songs and dances to honour Ardern.
“Thanks so much for teaching us to love quickly,” one elder told Ardern.
Ardern will resign from her duties as a prime minister on Wednesday. The new prime minister replacing Ardern is the new Labour party leader, Chris Hipkins.
Hipkins was first elected to parliament in 2008 and was the former COVID minister of the country.
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