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NZ PM Ardern confirms engagement

NZ PM Ardern confirms engagement.jpg

In this March 1, 2018, file photo, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, left, and her partner Clarke Gayford arrive in Sydney.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced she's getting married, less than a year after having a child in office.

Ardern, 38, and longtime partner Clarke Gayford, 41, became engaged while on holiday in the North Island over the Easter break, a spokesman for her office confirmed on Friday.

No wedding date has been announced yet and they've declined requests for further comment.

The couple first met in 2012 and had their first child, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, in June last year.

The prime minister's pregnancy made her a role model as only the second-ever elected female leader to have a child while in office - after Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto in 1990 - although she played the milestone down, saying she was not the "first woman to multi-task".

A former small-town Mormon, Ardern's meteoric rise from deputy of a flailing opposition Labour party to the top job in just months was dubbed "Jacindamania" and made her a rock-star of the global political left.

In recent weeks she won widespread praise for her compassionate approach in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Dubbed New Zealand's "first bloke", Gayford hosts a television fishing show and has taken on the role of stay-at-home dad since Ardern returned to parliament after a six-week maternity leave.

Asked earlier this year whether she would consider proposing to Gayford, Ardern told the BBC she was a feminist but would not be popping the question herself.

"I want to put him through the pain and torture of having to agonise about that question himself, that's letting him off the hook," she said.

New Zealand media were on Friday scouring photos of Ardern, pointing out she had been wearing a ring on her left hand since Easter but on her middle finger.

© AAP 2019