Long before she was one of the world’s most influential leaders, Jacinda Ardern was a precocious young kid with a passion for politics.
After moving from the impoverished town of Murupara to the farming town of Morrinsville in the 1990s, Ms Ardern was quick to find her voice with the Student Council.
Driven by her desire to help her peers, Ms Ardern fought those in power to ensure their views were represented.
At Morrinsville Intermediate, the earnest 11-year-old argued with staff over the inflated price of treats at the canteen.
By the time she had reached high school she was a seasoned debater.
While at Morrinsville College, the 17-year-old successfully argued to change the school uniform, allowing girls to wear shorts – the uniform was skirts for the girls, shorts or pants for the boys.
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Ms Ardern (pictured aged 15), who was raised Mormon, is the product of a police officer father and a mother who worked in the school cafeteria
Sporting much lighter locks and blonde highlights, Jacinda Ardern (pictured) is almost unrecognisable
To those who went to school with her, she was known as a bit of ‘show-pony’ and ‘teacher’s pet’.
During her final year of high school Ms Ardern was voted ‘Most Likely to become Prime Minister’ by her peers.
Decades on and she has done just that.
The 39-year-old was thrust into the spotlight when she made history as one of only a handful of women who have given birth while in power.
Since then she has been praised for her handling of catastrophic events, including the Christchurch terror attack, the White Island volcano disaster and the coronavirus pandemic.
Growing up, Ms Ardern was a far cry from the no-nonsense leader she has grown to be.
Jacinda Ardern has become one of the most influential political leaders in recent years by breaking down stereotypes and traditions
Ms Ardern, who was raised Mormon, is the product of a police officer father and a mother who worked in the school cafeteria.
She grew up being encouraged to dress modestly and stay away from coffee, cigarettes and alcohol.
And while she may not have been a stand-out to her peers, her teachers had always taken note of her. She was known by school staff as someone who would go far.
After graduating from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations and Political Science, she went on to work under then Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Critics have long compared Ms Ardern’s leadership style to that of the former Labour leader, who New Zealand’s fifth longest serving prime minister, and the second woman to hold the office.
Ms Ardern then moved to London where she worked as a senior policy advisor for British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK Cabinet Office.
In 2007 she was elected president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, a political organisation that says it fights for freedom, social justice and democracy.
While presiding over the union’s World Council annual meeting in 2009, her socialist views became clear.
In a discussion about the global financial crisis of 2008, the union stated: ‘Redistribution will lead to more financial stability and justice.
‘Human beings are born with unequal resources available. We as young socialists believe in a social democratic system which secures a redistribution of resources,’ official records from the meeting state.
Ms Ardern (pictured at 18) studied public relations and political science at the University of Waikato before working under former Prime Minister Helen Clark
As a New Zealand Labour MP, Jacinda Ardern performed her DJ set in the Thunderdome during the Laneway Festival in 2014
During this time she entered New Zealand’s Parliament as a list MP for the Labour party.
Over the years she became known as an advocate for women, children, speaking often about New Zealand’s education system.
During this time the Labour party was struggling in the polls. John Key had served a the prime minister for two terms under National.
And the party was looking at an easy third term thanks to the inconsistency of leadership within the Labour Party.
Then leader Andrew Little was unpopular in the polls and there was talk of Jacinda Ardern stepping into the role.
But Ms Ardern was young, she had no desire to taken on the top spot.
In 2014 she said: ‘I’ve seen how hard it is to raise a family in that role’.
Ms Ardern was lauded for her compassion and composure in the wake of the White Volcano tragedy last year. She is pictured meeting with first responders at the Whakatane Fire Station on December 10
Ms Ardern was pictured donning a black head scarf as a sign of solidarity as she hugged the grieving relatives of the slain victims of the Christchurch Massacre on March 17, 2019
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) and her daughter Neve Gayford at the upper Treaty grounds at Waitangi in February
In 2015 she stated: ‘I don’t want to be prime minister’.
Then in 2017, while on her way to becoming the MP for the Auckland electorate Mt Albert, she was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party.
With less than two months before the polls closed, Ms Adern saw an astounding victory, becoming the country’s third female prime minister.
She has become New Zealand‘s most popular prime minister in more than 100 years after leading the country through a series of crises.
Ms Ardern’s COVID-19 response, which saw NZ become one of the most successful countries at containing the virus, earned her a score of 59.5 per cent as the Pacific nation’s preferred leader according to the Newshub-Reid Research poll.
New Zealand was locked down for more than a month under ‘level 4’ restrictions, which were eventually wound down to stage three in late April.
Businesses in the country including malls, cinemas, cafes and gyms reopened last Thursday, although strict social distancing measures continue to be enforced nationwide to prevent the risk of a widespread outbreak.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with members of the Moslem community in the wake of the mass shooting at the two Christchurch mosques, Christchurch last year
Their engagement comes almost a year after the birth of their first child Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford in June 2018
On 15 March last year, a white supremacist carried out two consecutive mass shootings at mosques leaving 51 people dead and dozens more injured.
Ms Ardern donned a black head scarf as a sign of solidarity and grieved with relatives, while promising to cover the funeral costs of those who died.
Later that year, on December 9, popular tourist attraction White Island Volcano, in the Bay of Plenty, erupted during a tour, killing 21 people and leaving many more with serious burns.
Ms Ardern was lauded for her compassion and composure in press conferences as she handled the crisis, and for comforting families and first responders.
The 2020 election will put Ms Adern’s popularity to the test when it is held on September 19.
New Zealand ‘s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her long-term partner Clarke Gayford (both pictured)
Ms Ardern was lauded for her compassion and composure in press conferences as she handled the crisis, and for comforting families and first responders