7 May 2018

Power selfie: Ardern and Clinton exchange gifts

5:12 pm on 7 May 2018

The Prime Minister says she and the former United States Secretary of State talked about New Zealand domestic politics when they met this morning, but also what it is like being a mum in politics.

Jacinda Ardern and Hillary Clinton take a selfie

Jacinda Ardern and Hillary Clinton Photo: Supplied

Jacinda Ardern and Hillary Clinton met for an hour this morning in Auckland.

The meeting with the former first lady and presidential candidate was scheduled for half an hour but went longer than expected.

Ms Ardern said they had a great discussion this morning, and also exchanged gifts.

"Hillary passed on to me a gift she was told every New Zealand child needed to have, which I can tell I did not have already, and that was a Buzzy Bee, so she's obviously been very well-informed.

"I gave her two children's books, which I thought she might wish to read to her grand-children, by authors Lynley Dodd and Margaret Mahy, which included a Summery Saturday Morning and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy."

Ms Ardern said there was no risk of upsetting the current US administration by meeting Mrs Clinton.

"When it comes to the visits of those who are not guests of the Government I make sure that they are treated appropriately, in the same way that we did when Barack Obama visited New Zealand, it wasn't a formal meeting, there was therefore no media, it was a private meeting."

Mrs Clinton will talk in front of 3000 people this evening at Auckland's Spark Arena, sharing insights into the 2016 US election, its aftermath, and her experience as a woman in politics.

Unlike Former President Obama's widely reported recent arrival, very few people knew the former Secretary of State and New York Senator was in town until she was spotted at a children's clothing store in Parnell.

A usually quiet Sunday at work turned into something far more exciting for retail assistant Kersti Ward at Parnell Baby Boutique.

"There were a couple of security guys hanging around the shop for a while before she came.

"I thought 'oh that's a bit weird maybe Jacinda's coming in or something like that'. They were parked across the road, there were three cars in the bus bay and then this woman was escorted across the road and it was Hillary Clinton."

"I do admire her, so it was kind of a shock and I really didn't know what to talk to her about."

Ms Ward said she had looked into attending Mrs Clinton's talk tonight, but it was not possible on a student budget.

Parnell Baby Boutique assistant Kersti Wade with Hillary Clinton.

Parnell Baby Boutique assistant Kersti Wade with Hillary Clinton. Photo: Instagram / Parnell Baby Boutique

Tickets for the upper level seating start at $195 while those with a VIP package paid $495 for the closest seats, a copy of her book and entry to a pre-event cocktail function.

The appeal of hearing one of the biggest newsmakers of recent times had many jumping at the chance.

Christchurch resident Nicola Rykers was flying up for the event with her daughter later today.

"Back in 1999 I was given a free ticket to go hear Bill Clinton talk at the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch and I thought he was amazing, he's a great orator.

"Because the Clintons are such an influential, on a global scale, kind of couple it was a great opportunity to hear the other half."

While Mrs Clinton was not everyone's favourite politician, there was plenty about her for New Zealanders to be interested in, Ms Rykers said.

"She's a great academic and intellectual in her right and obviously has a lot of grit and perseverance, so she is a great role model even if you don't like her politics."

National Council of Women president Vanisa Dhiru said Mrs Clinton's reflections on modern leadership would be of great interest to many.

"Leaders like this have an important place in the sphere of having female leaders, that other women, young women, girls, can look up to. I think being able to listen and see her in New Zealand on our soil is amazing."

Mrs Clinton will talk about her book What Happened, which reflects on her experience during the 2016 US election race with Donald Trump.

Event organisers The Growth Faculty said as of last night tickets were close to selling out but some were still available for purchase.

The conversation is being moderated by former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley.

Ms Ardern will not be attending the speech.