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New Zealand's leader Jacinda Ardern wore a traditional Māori cloak to meet the Queen

Ardern, as a woman, knew that all eyes would be on her wardrobe so she gave people a reason to look.

WHATEVER DOES ONE wear to a reception at Buckingham Palace?

If you’re a man, it’s super easy – black tux durrr – but if you’re a woman, who is 7 months pregnant? What the hell do you wear?

Source: Giphy

This was the dilemma facing New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, last night.

It’s been a whirlwind year for Jacinda Ardern. In August 2017 , she became leader of New Zealand’s Labour party and a month later in September, aged 37, Ardern was elected the world’s youngest female head of government. Then in January, Ardern announced she was 4 months pregnant with her first child.

Source: Liewig Christian/ABACA

She is only the second ever head of government to be pregnant when in office – the first being Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who gave birth to a daughter in 1990, after a year in office.

In a typical resilient Kiwi attitude, Ardern breezed over the implications of what being ‘with child’ would mean for her ability to perform her job:

I’m just pregnant, not incapacitated. Like everyone else who has found themselves pregnant before, I’m just keeping on going

Source: Shirley Kwok

Luckily, her partner, Clarke Gayford, is going to become a stay-at-home Dad after the baby is born.

Dream partner alert!

So Ardern, 7 months along, and partner Gayford found themselves in England for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

When Ardern stepped out of her car for the reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, she caused quite a stir.

She wore a Korowai, which is a traditional Māori prestige cloak, worn for a ‘rangatira’ (person of authority).

Source: @NZinUK/twitter.com

The Māoris are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, who settled in NZ between 1250 and 1300. After the arrival of European colonisers in the late 1700s, the Māori population suffered due to social upheaval, decades of conflict and epidemics of introduced disease. Today, 15% of the population of NZ identify as Māori, but they are still experiencing discrimination.

Last week, Ardern addressed claims that New Zealand was ‘racist as f**k’, by saying:

Is there racism in New Zealand? Undeniably. Is there racism in most countries? Undeniably. Can we do better? Yes.

Ardern wearing a Korowai was seen as a powerful symbolic public gesture.

And indeed, it was a striking image of her walking down the halls in Buckingham Palace and meeting the Queen and Prince Charles clad in the cloak.

Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Source: Matt Dunham

She was praised for representing New Zealand so well abroad

jacin Source: @taylarthorpe/twitter.com

And also for embracing the fact that as a woman, what she wears will be scruntised

Ardern was also asked to make a toast at the dinner, and decided to quote a whakataukī (Maoiri proverb):

What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people.

Ardern definitely deserves her place on Time’s Top 100 Most Influential People

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