The highlight of coverage of the birth of Neve Gayford came on Saturday when the afternoon media briefing informed us the Prime Minister had porridge and a cup of tea for breakfast.

This was so revelatory that I howled with laughter at the ridiculousness of it and asked the PM's long-suffering press secretary whether this was proactively released or prompted by questions.

The response was that he had been asked what she ate every day.

It epitomised three days of waiting for news of the baby's name and the first proper public appearance. During that, we were also drip-fed information about a letter from the Queen and a bouquet of flowers from the Saudi Arabian Embassy which was so large it could not fit in the PM's room.


Keen onlookers would have noted the slightly ironic twist that those flowers were sent on the same day that Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving.

The eagerly awaited first public appearance of the baby today brought an end to the media reliance on such tidbits.

I confess that when the PM and Clarke Gayford ventured out with Neve the old eyes began to water as the baby blinked at the cameras, wisely decided it was too much bother, and fell asleep.

She left it to her mother to put on the show. Jacinda Ardern whipped between questions about the name, the possible looming nurses' strike and the kind of world she hoped for that sleeping baby.

She had also done a Facebook Live broadcast from her hospital room, again thanking people and taking the mickey out of Gayford for his "dad cardie" bought from an op shop.

The only signs of lack of sleep came when she called Prince Harry and Meghan the Duke and Duchess of Essex rather than Sussex.

As the family finally made it away for a few weeks of peace, if not quiet, the commentary turned to the meaning of the names.

One on Twitter noted Neve was traditionally spelled Niamh and Niamh was the daughter of the sea god in Irish legend. They helpfully added a plug for Gayford's fishing show, Fish of the Day.


Other noted Ardern's decision to add in Te Aroha as an acknowledgement of love, of the numerous names gifted to the baby by iwi and of Ardern's own family town, Te Aroha in the Waikato. Someone observed Neve's narrow escape from the name "Morrinsville".

Ardern was asked for the spelling of the name and read out n-e-v-e, saying they had opted for simplicity to save the baby the same spelling mistakes Clarke with an e and Jacinda with a d had gone through.

It may be a futile hope – little did she know that even as she spoke half the media outlets had already gone with Niamh while others were switching between Niamh and Neve.

Nonetheless, the baby may well be relieved the parents did not opt for another Irish name – Caoimhe – which is pronounced Kee-va and is the female version of Kevin.