WELLINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Jacinda Ardern gave an emotional farewell on her final day as prime minister on Tuesday, talking about the kindness and empathy New Zealanders have shown her but saying she is ready to be a sister and a mother.
After days of stunning the world announces he was “no longer in the tank” to lead the country and would resign, the 42-year-old arrived at a meeting of politicians and Maori elders in the small town of Ratana, north of the capital Wellington, and was immediately surrounded. by fans asking for photos.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the greatest privilege of my life,” Ardern said in her address to the gathering.
He will step down on Wednesday and be replaced by new Labor leader Chris Hipkins.
Ardern, along with Hipkins and opposition politicians, made the annual visit to Ratana, where the Maori prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana’s birthday was celebrated for a week.
Dressed in a black dress with the shoulders draped in a traditional Maori garment called a korowai, she led members of her party into the community area while playing a musical instrument. The speeches and accompanying songs and dances that followed saw elders talk about Ardern with humor and warmth.
“Thank you so much for teaching us to love so quickly,” one elder told Ardern.
Ardern responded and said she did not plan to speak, but those present refused to let her.
“My overall experience in this work of New Zealand and New Zealanders has been one of love, empathy and kindness,” he said.
Leaning to the left global icon After the massacre targeting Muslims, she brought her baby to the United Nations meeting and wore a hijab. Although he became the target of hate and online abuse by right-wing extremists on social media, he said he left his job with love in his heart.
“I want to know that I leave with a greater love and affection for Aotearoa New Zealand and its people than when I started.”
Before heading to the grounds, Ardern faced the media for perhaps the last time as prime minister, refusing to answer political questions and smiling broadly, saying it was now her successor’s responsibility.
“I’m ready to be many things. I’m ready to be a backbencher (member of parliament). I’m ready to be a sister and a mother,” she said.
Daughter Neven is 4 years old and starts school in June.
Hipkins was the country’s former COVID minister the only person is the candidate To hold the position of leader of the Labor Party. He was first elected to the parliament in 2008.
Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Edited by Praveen Menon and Gerry Doyle
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