Baby Neve to be taught both te reo Māori and English - Jacinda Ardern

  • 07/08/2018

Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford will be taught to speak both Te Reo and English, and her mother may even join her in learning New Zealand's indigenous language.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Māori Television she "certainly wants" newborn daughter Neve to learn te reo Māori, but admitted she hadn't yet made a decision "about how that will happen".

"It's an official language," she said in an interview with the network's Native Affairs programme. "It builds our understanding of Māori culture as well. For me, language is what sits at the heart of that."

Ms Ardern says she harboured ambitions of learning te reo Māori during her six weeks' maternity leave, and it remains "a project" for the family even though she's now back running the country.

In the interview, Ms Ardern explained that Te Aroha - the Māori middle name she and partner Clarke Gayford gave Neve - came about because they felt it captured the warmth the Māori community had shown the family.

"We would somehow reflect in Neve's name the generosity and kindness that was being shown to her, particularly on marae," she said.

"Te Aroha, we thought, captured that - and also at the same time captured my tūrangawaewae as well."