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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand made a statement as she arrived at Buckingham Palace on Thursday to meet Queen Elizabeth II and other world leaders at one of this week’s Commonwealth events. The 37-year-old is a great source of pride for New Zealand, as the world’s youngest female leader and one of very few women who will give birth while leading a country. Arden, who is expecting her first child in June, delighted her fellow New Zealanders when she was pictured wearing a traditional Māori cloak.
The coat, also known as a korowai, is a traditional garment associated with New Zealand’s indigenous people that confers respect and power. The significance of the cloak, which is adorned with feathers, draws on the association of birds as messengers from the spiritual realm, according to the Museum of New Zealand. Its appearance in the international arena was greeted enthusiastically online.
This image is so awesome. Our PM @jacindaardern has been representing our country so well on her European tour recently. Wearing a korowai to the state dinner at Buckingham Palace and being only one of two guests invited to make a toast, you're doing us proud girl! pic.twitter.com/pUcWO2kyCl
— (@TaylarThorpe) April 19, 2018
An amazing image of leadership in 2018.
New Zealand's feminist Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, wearing a korowai (Māori cloak), attending a Commonwealth meeting in the post-empire colonised world. pic.twitter.com/vSV7YB7niE
— Mariam Parwaiz (@MariamParwaiz) April 20, 2018
This photo of our Prime Minister @jacindaardern in Buckingham Palace makes me so proud, both as a New Zealander and a Māori.
— Kenny Williams (@Ohheykenny) April 20, 2018
This is leadership. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern quotes Māori proverb during Commonwealth toast: ‘What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people’. https://t.co/2iUf9YkIwQ pic.twitter.com/QapxzMAM1q
— Hilary Kilgour (@HilaryKilgour) April 20, 2018
Regardless of your politicial leanings, you've got to take a minute and appreciate everything this photo represents; Especially around all of us being free from toxic gender roles, and empowered to go with our hearts. pic.twitter.com/JM38tEWMaT
— Suzy Cate-O (@CateOwen) April 19, 2018
The korowai worn by Arden was loaned to her by the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club, which aims to provide New Zealanders living in the United Kingdom with an opportunity to become involved in their home country’s indigenous culture. As it turns out, it’s not the first time that this very garment has been presented to the Queen. In early March, for the Commonwealth Day Service in Westminster Abbey, Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the club’s honorary president, Whaea Esther Jessop, who was wearing the same cloak at the time.
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