Jacinda Ardern agreed to a photo with Amelie, 10, at Lyall Bay in Wellington hours after resigning as Prime Minister. Photo / supplied
Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wasted no time before making use of her newfound freedom.
Just hours after making her final public appearance as PM as she left the Beehive, she was spotted enjoying the summer weather at Wellington’s Lyall Bay.
Wellington man Mitch Alison yesterday posted a photo of Ardern with his daughter at the beach after the pair chatted to her.
Just after lunchtime Alison and his daughter Amelie, 10, drove into the carpark at Lyall Bay and spotted a figure in red, flanked by one security guard, heading towards the beach and immediately realised who it was.
Had the pleasure of running into #JacindaArdern at Lyall Bay beach today. After a massive morning, she still took the time to have a chat, and take a selfie with my daughter. Kind elegant and graceful. I wish her and her family all the best. #JacindaResigns pic.twitter.com/uh43ihHftS
— Mitch Alison (@mitch_alison) January 25, 2023
Alison said to his daughter they should stop and say thank you so they managed to catch up to Ardern, who was enjoying a quiet walk with partner Clarke Gayford.
“I said thank you for all she’s done and sorry for all the hatred,” he said. “I had a chat with her hubby about what they were going to do and fishing.”
Alison was amazed that “after such a massive day she stopped and spent time with my daughter”.
“This really exemplified what she was like. It was such an amazing experience that I don’t think you would get in any other country.”
Posting about the experience on Twitter he described her as “kind, elegant and graceful”.
There were few other people at the beach but Alison said she did stop and speak to a couple of surfers during what he described as a “quiet, contemplative” walk.
Amelie was equally as amazed by the experience and said Ardern asked her name and where she went to school and agreed to take a photo during the 10 minutes they spent talking.
“It was a really good experience. It made my day,” she said. “All my grandparents and uncles in South Africa were blown away.”
The guard of honour she was given by her caucus as she left Parliament yesterday morning was not her final farewell for the day.
Friend and fellow leader, Canadian Prime Ministe, Justin Trudeau also called to thank her and wish her well.
I touched base with @JacindaArdern this evening – to thank her for her friendship and her work to strengthen the Canada-New Zealand partnership, and to wish her and her family the very best as they head into this next chapter. Always good to chat with you, my friend.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 25, 2023
“I touched base with Jacinda Ardern this evening – to thank her for her friendship and her work to strengthen the Canada-New Zealand partnership, and to wish her and her family the very best as they head into this next chapter. Always good to chat with you, my friend,” he posted on Twitter.
After announcing her resignation last week, Ardern officially handed over the reins to Chris Hipkins yesterday.
She hugged each member of her caucus as she left the Beehive and said “thank you” to the crowd that had gathered to see her off before heading to Government House.
At Government House, Ardern had a private audience with Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro where she formally resigned before Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni were sworn in as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.