Jacinda Ardern Family History


Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born on July 28th, 1980 to Ross and Laurell Ardern in Hamilton, New Zealand.

There were two daughters in the family, Louise and Jacinda, and they went in different directions.  Louise left for London where she married her husband from Colombia and they have two children.  Jacinda, after graduating from university in New Zealand, did spend time abroad in America and the UK, but returned to New Zealand.  She had earlier been recruited into the New Zealand Labour party by her aunt Marie and that was where her future lay.

Jacinda was elected to Parliament in 2008, became the MP for the Mount Albert electorate in 2017 and Leader of the Labour Party later that year.

After Labour gained seats in the 2017 general election, she became New Zealand’s Prime Minister in September 2017.  At the age of thirty-seven she was the youngest woman ever to be a Head of Government.  And she led the Labour Party to a landslide victory in the 2020 general election.  However, she retired from the position in February 2023 after six years, citing burnout on the job.

Arderne in England

Arderne as a surname originated in the 13th century from the place-names of Arderne to be found:

  • either northeast of Stockport in Cheshire
  • or in Warwickshire where it had become the Forest of Arden by Shakespeare’s time.

John Arderne was born in Stockport in 1430 and a later John Ardrene was its mayor in 1524.  Arderne and later Ardern evolved as the main Cheshire spellings; while Warwickshire may have given rise to some early Ardernes, the surname there became Arden.

According to the Victorian surname genealogist Henry Guppy: “The Ardernes are a very old and distinguished Cheshire family dating back to the 13th century.  There are several branches – the Ardernes of Aldford, Alvanley, and Harden being the main stock.”

This may suggest that the Arderns were quite numerous.  But today they are not – just some 700 in England (mainly to be found in Lancashire and Cheshire) and a further 300 in New Zealand.

The New Zealand numbers resulted from the emigration of Samuel Ardern from Altrincham in Cheshire to New Zealand in 1869, from whom Jacinda Ardern is a descendant.

Arderns in New Zealand

Samuel Ardern, aged thirty-two, departed Liverpool with his wife Florence and their baby Vincent on the Charlotte Gladstone in September 1869.  They arrived in Melbourne, Australia towards the end of the year and then moved onto New Zealand and New Plymouth, Taranaki in the following year.

The baby Vincent grew up to be a mechanical engineer. He became foreman of the New Plymouth Borough Council’s stone crushing and street rolling plant in 1903.  He and his wife Harriet raised five sons.

In 1911 their eldest son Samuel Howard married Lydia Wiltshire in Palmerston North. Known as Queenie, she was the youngest daughter of the late Joseph Wiltshire, the Town Crier of Palmerston North.  And, scandal of scandals, their first son Harry had been born two years before they actually married.

Interestingly, a later Queenie – their daughter Queenie Constance – married an English Lord of the Realm in 1938.  He was Ronald Vernon, the 6th Baron Lyveden, whose family had migrated to New Zealand.

Harry meanwhile married Gwladys McVicar from Hamilton, Waikato in 1939.  He was later recorded as running his own dragline excavator business.

Te Aroha

The town of Te Aroha outside of Hamilton and Te Aroha mountain which overlooks it has a special place in the hearts of the Ardern family.

It was the place where Harry and Gwladys first came in contact with missionaries from the Mormon Church of the Latter-day Saints (LDS).  It was the place where the twins Ian and Ross were born in 1954.  And it was the place where their children attended the school that the LDS Church completed there in 1958.

And Harry himself was buried at the Te Aroha cemetery in 2000.  On his headstone were the words: “Dearly loved husband of Gwladys and father of Joan, Yvonne, Ron, Ann, Keith, Ross and Ian.”

His son Ian later wrote:  “I was born in the small rural town of Te Aroha which sits beneath a beautiful, bush-covered mountain that became my playground. Aroha is a Maori word meaning “love” and it reminds me of my feelings for my family and friends as I grew up. Apart from my brothers and sister, there were only four other LDS students in my school.”

Ian’s elder brother Keith became an LDS minister and Ian later an Elder of the LDS Church.

Ian’s twin brother David Ross Ardern, Jacinda’s father, joined the New Zealand police instead.  Starting in 1974, he was to have a forty-year career with them.  In 2005 he was appointed the Commissioner of Police for the tiny Pacific island of Niue and, a decade later, became its High Commissioner.  Throughout this time Ross was a practising member of the LDS Church.

Church College, the LDS-sponsored school for 13-18 year-olds in Te Aroha, had around 700 students in its hey-day.  But the numbers declined in the early 2000’s and the LDS Church closed the school in 2009.

Despite this setback, Te Aroha has been remembered with affection by the next generation of Arderns.  In 2018 Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a baby daughter to which she and her partner gave the name Neve Te Aroha.

Neve, derived from the the Irish name Niamh, means “bright” or “radiant” and Te Aroha means “love” in Māori.  Te Aroha was also a tribute to Te Aroha mountain that was near her hometown of Hamilton.  Jacinda added: “It’s the place where all my family are from.  I grew up under that mountain.”

Jacinda Ardern’s Family Tree

  • Samuel Ardern from Cheshire (1836-1914) m. Florence West (1837-1914) in 1860 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1869
  • – Vincent Ardern (1866-1937), born in Cheshire
  • – Lucy Ardern (1870-1957), born in Australia, m. Walter West
  • Vincent Ardern from Cheshire m. Harriet Earl (1866-1937) in Taranaki in 1889
  • – Samuel (Howard) Ardern (1890-1959)
  • – Walter (Cliff) Ardern (1892-1976) m. Theresa Scannell and Jessie Bailey
  • – Cecil Ardern (1893-1974) m. Amy McLean
  • – Albert (Jim) Ardern (1898-1965) m. Mary Jane Fox
  • – Frederick Ardern (1899-1964) m. Elizabeth Allan
  • Samuel (Howard) Ardern from Taranaki m. Lydia (Queenie) Wiltshire (1891-1982) in Palmerston North in 1911
  • – Henry (Harry) Ardern (1909-2000)
  • – Roy Ardern (1911-1987) m. Doris Stewart
  • – Vincent Ardern (1913-1987) m. Marian Cahill
  • – Joan Ardern (1917-1974) m. William Barker and Thomas Robertson
  • – Queenie Constance Ardern (1921-1990) m. Ronald Vernon (Baron Lyveden)
  • – Melva Ardern (1930-2015) m. Bernie O’Brien and Harold Gilbertson
  • Henry (Harry) Ardern from Taranaki m. Gwladys McVicar (1920-1992) in Mercer, Waikato in 1939
  • – Keith Ardern, LDS minister
  • – twin Ian Ardern (b. 1954), LDS minister, m. Paula Judd
  • – twin Ross Ardern (b. 1954), policeman
  • – plus four other earlier children
  • Ross Ardern (b. 1954) from Te Aroha, Waikato m. Laurell Bottomley (b. 1955) also from Te Aroha
  • – Louise Ardern m. Ray Dussan
  • – Jacinda Ardern (b. 1980)
  • Jacinda Ardern m. Clarke Gayford (b. 1976) in 2023
  • – daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford (b. 2018)


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Written by Colin Shelley

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