They move in powerful circles, but at home they're just dad. Cherie Howie talks to ​some new dads from, or close to, the halls of power this Father's Day.

Clarke Gayford, partner of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, father of Neve, 10 weeks

Clarke Gayford, with daughter Neve and partner, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, wants to know why Neve smiles at the curtains more than grandma. Photo / Supplied
Clarke Gayford, with daughter Neve and partner, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, wants to know why Neve smiles at the curtains more than grandma. Photo / Supplied

What does being a father mean to you?

Getting up each morning and putting a clean cloth in my pocket for emergencies.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given about fatherhood?

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Don't worry too much if you make mistakes early on, they don't remember. Not bad from President Obama.

What's the most useless advice you've been given about fatherhood?

Not advice but gifts: If someone close gives you hand-wash-only baby clothes, or onesies that tie up with ribbons, review that relationship.

If your baby could talk, what would you ask him/her, and why?

Why do you smile more at the curtains than you do at Grandma?

Tell us about your most memorable poonami experience?

For the sake of my child's dignity I won't answer this, however feel free to ask her mum about the poo-chin incident of 2018 ... I've said too much.

What's your favourite Wiggles song and why? Can you sing it word for word? If not Wiggles, what's your favourite nursery rhyme/other kiddie song and why?

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Although Anika Moa has forced all her CDs on us, all Neve's really into at this stage is white noise. This might sound like an alt-right group from Canada, but it's really just a white-noise waves-on-sand sound.

Simon Bridges, National Party leader, father of Emlyn, 6, Harry, 4, and Jemima, nine months

National Party leader Simon Bridges, with wife Natalie and their children, left to right, Emlyn, 6, Jemima, 9 months, and Harry, 4, is familiar with The Wiggles thanks to fatherhood. Photo / Supplied
National Party leader Simon Bridges, with wife Natalie and their children, left to right, Emlyn, 6, Jemima, 9 months, and Harry, 4, is familiar with The Wiggles thanks to fatherhood. Photo / Supplied

What does being a father mean to you?

An unconditional love and bond with my three little ones as they grow and learn. Seeing that happen is priceless.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given about fatherhood?

Provide a loving, secure environment and allow your children the freedom to then fulfil their dreams and potential. Otherwise go easy on yourself.

What's the most useless advice you've been given about fatherhood?

I think I've filtered out the bad advice and only gone with the good!

If your baby could talk, what would you ask him/her, and why?

Why are you always laughing at me?! Our youngest one is constantly smiling and giggling.

Tell us about your most memorable poonami experience?

There have been several terrible predicaments where I've got baby and myself into a serious pickle.

The worst was one where I popped out quickly to the mall with Jemima. I forgot the nappy bag and she promptly pooped and was swamped head to toe. I've never forgotten the nappy bag since.

What's your favourite Wiggles song and why? Can you sing it word for word? If not Wiggles, what's your favourite nursery rhyme/other kiddie song and why?

When the two boys were toddlers "Fruit Salad (yummy yummy)" became permanently etched in my head.

Dion Prime, husband of Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime, father of Hihana, 3, and Heeni, 1

Dion Prime, with wife, Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime and daughters Hihana, 3, and Heeni, 1, lulls himself to sleep by singing to his kids at bedtime - while they remain awake. Photo / Supplied
Dion Prime, with wife, Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime and daughters Hihana, 3, and Heeni, 1, lulls himself to sleep by singing to his kids at bedtime - while they remain awake. Photo / Supplied

What does being a father mean to you?

Hard work! But seriously, I just love them so much, and I would do anything for them.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given about fatherhood?

The washing can wait, and sleep when they sleep. This is the best advice you can get.

What's the most useless advice you've been given about fatherhood?

People often say sleep as much as you can before the baby arrives. I don't think that helps the tiredness.

If your baby could talk, what would you ask him/her, and why?

I would ask them "Am I doing a good job?".

Tell us about your most memorable poonami experience?

We call them prune-nami. Haha. We were at the Kaitaia Warehouse when Hihana had a prune-nami running down her legs and up her back, and there poo was running down my arm too.

I had to run out of the shop carrying her, and they probably thought I was stealing something.

Heeni did one just a couple of weeks ago. The girls both love prunes.

What's your favourite Wiggles song and why? Can you sing it word for word? If not Wiggles, what's your favourite nursery rhyme/other kiddie song and why?

When I put both the girls down at night we sing "E moe Heeni, e moe Hihana" "Go to sleep Heeni, go to sleep Hihana", on repeat one million times until it has lulled me to sleep and they are still awake.

We also love Baby Shark, Johnny Jonny, Finger Family and I really love Frozen … lol.

Tim van de Molen, Waikato MP, father of Isobella , 2, and Arthur, 11 months

Natonal Party Waikato MP Tim van de Molen had an interesting poonami experience with son Arthur, 11 months, at a restaurant. Daughter Isobella, 2, is also pictured. Photo / Supplied
Natonal Party Waikato MP Tim van de Molen had an interesting poonami experience with son Arthur, 11 months, at a restaurant. Daughter Isobella, 2, is also pictured. Photo / Supplied

What does being a father mean to you?

Endless love, endless challenges, endless wonder.

Being a parent is making me a better person every day and I just want to be the best father and husband possible, for my family.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given about fatherhood?

Don't stress about things, it'll all work out – kids are pretty resilient, and every child is different, so you really just have to find a rhythm that works for your family.

What's the most useless advice you've been given about fatherhood?

Don't stress about things, it'll all work out - it's vague and adds no value when you're in a difficult situation!

If your baby could talk, what would you ask him/her, and why?

How much time do you spend each day considering where on your body to smear the next meal? He comes up with some really creative placements!

Tell us about your most memorable poonami experience?

During one of our first evenings out for dinner with Arthur he made an unwelcome contribution to the evening as the mains were due to come out.

Sitting in the highchair had applied pressure in particular spots, which left the path of least resistance as a channel up his back.

I didn't notice this until I picked him up and placed a hand on his back, which duly squeezed a bit out of his collar and onto my hand – in the middle of the restaurant.

I was seriously impressed with the propulsion he achieved to force it that high up his back!

What's your favourite Wiggles song and why? Can you sing it word for word? If not Wiggles, what's your favourite nursery rhyme/other kiddie song and why?

Being from a rural background, songs like Old MacDonald get rolled out regularly, with a broad array of animals featuring. Both kids appreciate my terrible singing, which is great!

Kris Faafoi, Mana MP and father of Theo, 1, and two older sons

Mana MP Kris Faafoi with his son, Theo, 1. Photo / Supplied
Mana MP Kris Faafoi with his son, Theo, 1. Photo / Supplied

What does being a father mean to you?

It is the best job I have. My sons are great fun and I am enjoying seeing them grow up and helping them understand the complex world they live in.

And they serve as great cover to stop working and to jump on the PS4.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given about fatherhood?

"Chill, it will all be OK". And, "Let them run, if they fall over the skin will grow back."

What's the most useless advice you've been given about fatherhood?

"Chill, it will all be OK"- I don't always follow that advice.

If your baby could talk, what would you ask him/her, and why?

Why did you put that in the toilet? Because the electronic car keys do not belong in there!

Tell us about your most memorable poonami experience?

Well it's not one of mine. But my late father was helping one of his grandchildren deal with a poonami and she said to him: "Um Grandad, there is poo on your face!"

My dad was a pretty serious guy but that one still makes us crack up.

What's your favourite Wiggles song and why? Can you sing it word for word? If not Wiggles, what's your favourite nursery rhyme/other kiddie song and why?

I quite often play Fruit Salad on the guitar to Theo, but that is more to annoy his mum.

Anthony is the only original Wiggle remaining. If I saw him I think I would ask for his photo and autograph.