Celebrity baby name: Neve Te Aroha

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern

In June of 2018, Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and her partner Clarke Gayford welcomed a baby girl.

The baby’s name? Neve Te Aroha (pronounced NEEV tay-AH-roh-hah).

Ardern said:

[W]e chose Neve because we just liked it, and when we met her we thought she looked like she suited the name. Also, it means — in various forms — it means bright and radiant, and snow which seemed like a good combination for Matariki [the Maori New Year] and for solstice.

Neve is an Anglicized form of the Irish name Niamh, which means “bright.” Its spelling corresponds to the word for “snow” in several romance languages, including Italian and Portuguese.

The Maori term te aroha, which means “the love,” was chosen to reflect the love and generosity shown to the family — particularly by the various Maori tribes (iwi) — during the pregnancy. Ardern added:

It’s also the place where all my family are from, as well — it’s a place name. And I grew up under that mountain [Mount Te Aroha].

Neither Neve nor Te Aroha has ever been popular enough to rank as one of the top 100 girl names in New Zealand. Niamh and Aroha, however, have both made the top 100 exactly once: Niamh in 2000, Aroha in 1982.

P.S. Upon the arrival of Neve, Jacinda Ardern became the second elected head of government to give birth while in office. The first was Benazir Bhutto, who was serving as the prime minister of Pakistan when she gave birth to her daughter Bakhtawar in early 1990.


Image: Adapted from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2018 by Newzild under CC BY-SA 4.0.

[Latest update: Nov. 2023]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.