After making history by delivering a speech from the porch of the Treaty Grounds' carved meeting house Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sat down with 180 excited schoolchildren for a meal from a plastic lunchbox.

Following yesterday's prime ministerial powhiri — held at the Treaty Grounds instead of Te Tii Marae for the first time — Ms Ardern visited Paihia School, just a few kilometres down the road, where she received another formal welcome and was invited to join a picnic on the school grounds.

Five-year-old Hayley Tipene, at Paihia School for just one week, got to sit on the prime ministerial knee during the official school photo. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Five-year-old Hayley Tipene, at Paihia School for just one week, got to sit on the prime ministerial knee during the official school photo. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

She was accompanied by several of her ministers and MPs, including Kelvin Davis, Willow-Jean Prime, Chris Hipkins and Tamati Coffey, along with speaker of the house Trevor Mallard, Green Party leader James Shaw, and her partner Clarke Gayford.

The speeches were kept short with Ms Ardern directing hers at the children, explaining how Parliament works and the roles of the MPs seated alongside her.

Advertisement

Of Mr Gayford, she said: ''He's a fisherman. I'm the best catch he's ever got.''

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explains the workings of Parliament to the kids of Paihia School. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explains the workings of Parliament to the kids of Paihia School. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

The children then had a chance to throw some curly questions as her, such as her favourite colour (yellow), favourite fruit (peaches) and whether she knew about the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park (she does now).

Later she had little chance to tuck into her lunch as the pupils regaled her with more questions or requested autographs on everything from lunchboxes to a bandaged arm.

She shared out the contents of her lunchbox and passed one of the toughest challenges of her prime ministerial career to date when she had to use a plastic fork to cut a Mars bar into several equal-sized pieces.

Kaikaranga Reitu Kenny-McKibbin, 12, of Waitangi, calls the Prime Minister's delegation into the school whare. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Kaikaranga Reitu Kenny-McKibbin, 12, of Waitangi, calls the Prime Minister's delegation into the school whare. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

A few of the children had brought presents for the PM, among them Teah Hagen, 7.

The politically aware Teah — who said she rated Ms Ardern because she did what she said she was going to do — gave her a pencil with 'Jacinda' engraved on one side and 'Prime Minister' on the other.

Thea Holland, also 7, made a necklace for Ms Ardern and said she knew the PM from TV.

''And I just know her. It was really fun getting to see her. She's really pretty, she's nice and she's smart.''

Education Minister Chris Hipkins shares a hongi with Waitangi 7-year-old Nikau Taituha. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Education Minister Chris Hipkins shares a hongi with Waitangi 7-year-old Nikau Taituha. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

Principal Jane Lindsay said being able to welcome the Prime Minister into the school whare, then share a picnic with her, was ''a very special occasion''.

''We had a very excited school today,'' she said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern poses for a photo with Olivia Bogaers, 6, of Paihia. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern poses for a photo with Olivia Bogaers, 6, of Paihia. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF