Former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern reportedly set to marry long-term partner Clarke Gayford next week

After the COVID-19 pandemic scrapped plans for former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern and long-term fiancé Clarke Gayford to get married, the pair could be about to tie the knot at the second attempt after reports emerged they were set to have their wedding next week. 

New Zealand Herald and The Post are both reporting Dame Jacinda, 43, and Gayford, 47, will get married this month, with The Post adding that the wedding will take place at an "elite venue" on January 13.

When contacted by NZ Herald to confirm the wedding, Gayford laughed and refused to comment.  

"I can't believe you thought you could call up and I'd just tell you all," he said, before saying he had "nothing to add".  

Ardern and Gayford have both yet to confirm if the date is correct and where the location of the wedding will be.  

Ardern and Gayford became engaged in 2019 after the Gisborne native popped the question over Easter weekend while they were in Mahia, Hawke's Bay. 

At a post-Cabinet press conference in May 2019, Dame Jacinda said the proposal happened at the top of Mokotahi Hill in front of a select group of witnesses. 

"It was Clarke, myself, a member of the DPS [Diplomatic Protection Service], so very intimate," she joked. "Couple of locals from Mahia and a dog that tried to eat the chocolate Clarke bought me, so it was very romantic." 

When asked if Gayford got down on one knee to pop the question, she implied he hadn't. 

"The DPS were up there and they had no idea what had happened, so that should be a bit of a giveaway to you." 

If the date is correct, it will be the second time the pair have tried to get married. They were forced to postpone their wedding at the start of 2022 following the Government's decision to put New Zealand in the red traffic light setting as COVID-19 cases surged. It was reportedly set to be held at the farm homestead at Nick’s Head Station, 25km south of Gisborne.  

During a press conference in January 2022 following the red traffic light restriction announcement, Ardern said: "As for mine - my wedding will not be going ahead but I just join the many New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic. 

"And to anyone who is caught up in that scenario, I'm so sorry but we are all so resilient and I know we understand we are doing this for one another," she continued. After COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in 2022, Arden said she and Gayford will go ahead with the wedding but had not set an official date. 

It will be almost a year to the day since Ardern announced she was leaving politics and resigning as Prime Minister.  

During her announcement, she said: "And to Clarke, let's finally get married."