Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's baby daughter Neve has stolen the show at Rātana after making her first visit to the Pā near Whanganui.

Wearing a pink bucket hat and blue dress, Neve was seen interacting with attendees while her mother attended with husband Clarke Gayford.

Neve, the now energetic toddler, was seen racing about with two DPS keeping a close eye on her, as well as Speaker Trevor Mallard hobbling behind her trying to keep up.

Baby Neve having fun while Speaker Trevor Mallard tries to keep up. Photo / Claire Trevett
Baby Neve having fun while Speaker Trevor Mallard tries to keep up. Photo / Claire Trevett

Fans took to social media to marvel over the adorable new images of Neve.

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"Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford in rare public outing," one said.

Another added: "Baby Neve is so well behaved ... she goes to anybody! So many babysitters running around after her. She even has her own security detail ... police ... not so secret service ... and Maori wardens! #blessed at Ratana Pa.

"Sooo cute! She did so well considering the speeches went on for about an hour! In the hot sun too ... Even the politicians are behaving!"

A third said: "She's so cute! It's cool to see we have a PM who can bring her baby along to events. That's what every day parents have to do."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her daughter Neve at the Ratana celebrations in Ratana, January 24, 2020. Photo / Claire Trevett
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her daughter Neve at the Ratana celebrations in Ratana, January 24, 2020. Photo / Claire Trevett
Neve Ardern Gayford with dad Clarke Gayford at Ratana 2020. Photo / Bevan Conley
Neve Ardern Gayford with dad Clarke Gayford at Ratana 2020. Photo / Bevan Conley

But not everyone was impressed at Ardern for bringing Neve to Rātana with one claiming it is a ploy to win votes.

"It's election year and baby Neve has been ultrotted out for the first time in months at today's visit to Ratana. We'll see much more of her in 2020. Votes will be cast in September with the nuptials July/August in time for the glossy magazines. Transparently obvious," one said.

Another joked: "Rātana welcomes Jacinda and her baby Neve, then welcomes Winston and his baby, Shane [Jones]."

When Ardern was pregnant, she had promised to bring Neve when it was possible and had gifted some flax plants from Neve to Rātana in December 2018, when the church marked its centenary.

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Today, Ardern also used her speech to defend her record with Māori after National Party leader Simon Bridges earlier in the day had told them to challenge her on what she had delivered.

She also joked about Bridges' claim that Labour's hands were "soft" because they were not hard working: "When you meet our [government MPs] and you shake their hands, and you feel the callouses on those hard-working hands, please talk to them about what we are doing and must keep doing for those people."

Ardern raised Whānau Ora briefly - it was shaping up as a contentious topic after Dame Tariana Turia and her coalition of Dames challenged whether the Government was letting it slide.

Turia was among those on the paepae at Rātana listening on. Ardern sought to calm the waters: "Whānau Ora works. It works. The rest we'll keep working on."