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Jacinda Ardern wedding: Former NZ Prime Minister says wedding to Clarke Gayford was ‘worth the wait’

Editor Written by Editor · 1 min read >

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Arden has offered up a succinct but joyful message to her 1.7 million followers on social media after marrying Clarke Gayford on the weekend.

Arden posted a picture of Gayford and herself to Instagram tonight with the caption: “13.01.24 ❤️ Worth the wait.”

The couple of almost 10 years tied the knot on Saturday in a ceremony at the exclusive Craggy Range winery on the outskirts of Havelock North where they exchanged vows before a reception full of laughter, cheering and dancing.

The couple began dating in 2014 after Gayford, a marine enthusiast and host of Fish of the Day and Moving Houses, contacted the then-Labour list MP about proposed legislation in 2013.

Gayford popped the question five years later with his grandmother’s ring on Mokotahi Hill in northern Hawke’s Bay, as Diplomatic Protection Service officers kept watch nearby and a local dog tried to eat the chocolate he’d packed for the occasion.

The cliff-top proposal came 10 months after the birth of the couple’s daughter Neve and 18 months after Ardern became the country’s second youngest Prime Minister when the then-Labour Party leader formed a coalition with the Winston Peters-helmed NZ First party.

Dame Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford pictured at their wedding. Photo / Felicity Jean Photography
Dame Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford pictured at their wedding. Photo / Felicity Jean Photography

They’d made no plans “at all” for the wedding, Ardern told media after news of the engagement broke almost two weeks following the Easter proposal, when a ring was spotted on her left middle finger during a ceremony at the Pike River mine.

Less than a year later the Covid-19 pandemic kicked off a round of restrictions that included lockdowns, border closures to those without citizenship or residency, and an at-times oversubscribed managed quarantine system for Kiwis coming home.

The couple’s wedding would eventually be booked for the 2022 summer, the venue understood to be the farm homestead at Nick’s Head Station, 25km south of Gisborne.

But the arrival of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in late January 2022 and subsequent move to the red traffic light system – which restricted gatherings to fewer than 100 – spoiled the pair’s plans.

When she resigned as Prime Minister almost a year ago, citing exhaustion, the bride-to-be included a special message to Gayford alongside promises to try to find ways to “keep working for New Zealand” and take Neve to her first day of school.

“And to Clarke: Let’s finally get married.”

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