> Skip to content

Article  •  3 March 2020

 

Five things you didn’t know about Jacinda Ardern

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is famous for her empathy and leadership skills.

You may know her as the youngest and third female Prime Minister of New Zealand, the first head of government to take maternity leave and the powerfully empathetic responder in times of crisis. But how much do you really know about Jacinda Ardern?

 

David Hill’s new picture book Taking the Lead: How Jacinda Ardern Wowed the World is a treat for both adults and children, exploring the life and career of one of the most popular world leaders with beautiful illustrations by Phoebe Morris.

 

Here are a few things you might not have known about the leader of New Zealand’s Labour party:

 

1. Jacinda grew up on an apple farm.

Jacinda was born in Hamilton on 26 July 1980 and her family then moved to Murupara, where Jacinda’s father Ross worked as a policeman. Jacinda loved living on the orchard in Murupara and learned to drive a tractor before she could drive a car!

 

2. Jacinda started her political career in high school.

It was a tough choice between being a clown (because they have so much fun) or a scientist (like her big sister Louise), but when she realised her passion for helping others, Jacinda chose politics. For a school project, Jacinda interviewed former Member of Parliament Marilyn Waring and was very impressed by how friendly and helpful Ms Waring was. Jacinda swapped her after school job at the local fish and chip shop to work for New Zealand’s Labour Party in the 1999 General Election.

 

3. Jacinda worked at a soup kitchen in New York.

After graduating from a Bachelor of Communications at the University of Waikato, Jacinda took some time to travel overseas. However, she just couldn’t stop her desire to help others and ended up working at a New York soup kitchen, serving food to the poor and homeless people of the city.

 

4. Jacinda was President of the International Union of Socialist Youth.

After visiting the USA, Jacinda travelled to England where she worked for British Prime Minister Tony Blair before being chosen as the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth. The Union’s focus was human rights and equal opportunities for the world’s children. As President, Jacinda got to travel the world even more with meetings in China, Lebanon and Jordan, to name a few.

 

5. Jacinda performed as a DJ.

Jacinda loves music and briefly worked as a DJ at an Auckland’s Laneway Festival and in some record shops. Her playlists include the Beatles and some of her favourite Kiwi bands like Street Chant and Opossom.

 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had an impressive career since she was elected as leader in 2017 and was recently named #2 in Fortune’s list of World’s Greatest Leaders in 2019. Learn more about Jacinda in Taking the Lead: How Jacinda Ardern Wowed the World, out now in your local bookstore.

Feature Title

Taking the Lead
Meet Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who hopes the things she's done will help everyone, especially children, to believe that they can do great things too.
Read more

More features

See all
Article
Beautiful NZ Picture Books from 2020

Sometimes a story is best told alongside a beautiful picture, Here's a small selection of some of our favourite 2020 picture books from local creators. 

Article
Real Readers Review: Coastwatcher

Looking for your kid's next great read? Let our Puffin Ambassadors tell you why you should pick up Coastwatcher, a thrilling adventure novel for 9+ readers.

Activity
Taking the Lead: downloadable activity

Download our Taking the Lead word search here!

Activity
Hero of the Sea: activity

Use the key to unlock the secret message!

Q&A
Q&A with David Hill and Phoebe Morris

The co-creators of Hero of the Sea interview each other about writing, illustrating and their latest collaboration.

Book clubs
Short story club – 17 May 2018

Read the story being discussed on Jesse Mulligan’s show on Radio New Zealand on 17 May 2018

Article
Sherri Crichton shares the backstory of Eruption's collaboration

Sherri Crichton, wife of the late Michael Crichton, explains in this letter how the unfinished manuscript of Eruption came to be completed by James Patterson.

Article
Top Reads For June

Thrills, romance, contemporary fiction and more; check out our top reads for June!

Article
Real Readers Review: The Love of My Afterlife

What do readers really think of The Love of My Afterlife?

Article
A Guide to Waitohu Journal

Nau mai ki Waitohu! Read on to learn about Hinemoa Elder's inspiration behind Waitohu, and how to use this special journal.

Article
Top May Picks

Thrills, romance, contemporary fiction and more; check out our top reads for May!

Article
Penguin Authors at Auckland Writers Festival

We've got some amazing authors appearing at this year's Auckland Writers Festival, so we thought we'd collate all of their events in one place. Hope to see you there!

Looking for more articles?

See all articles