Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford
In this image supplied by Dame Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embraces her husband Clarke Gayford at their wedding in Havelock North, New Zealand, Saturday, Januray 13, 2024. Image Credit: AP

Wellington: Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has married her longtime partner, tying the knot after Covid restrictions forced the couple to cancel a ceremony in 2022.

On the back of her shock resignation in January last year, Ardern told reporters she was looking forward to "finally" getting hitched to her TV presenter fiance.

The 43-year-old married fishing show host Clarke Gayford, 47, in a small ceremony held on Saturday in New Zealand's Hawke's Bay wine region.

The couple planned to marry in early 2022, but were forced to cancel after Ardern's government ramped up Covid restrictions in the face of surging cases.

Ardern won international acclaim for her handling of the pandemic, although her popularity within New Zealand had soured in the months before she stood down from politics.

New Zealand media reported a small number of anti-vaccination demonstrators attempted to protest outside the wedding venue.

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford
Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford. Image Credit: AP

An international hero of progressive politics, Ardern steered New Zealand through natural disasters, the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre.

She graced the cover of Time Magazine in 2020, and drew widespread praise after carrying baby daughter Neve with her on the floor of the United Nations general assembly.

But her popularity began to dip towards the end of her second term in office, driven by deteriorating economic conditions and a backlash to her government's strict Covid policies.

Ardern's successor, Chris Hipkins, was trounced by conservative opponent Chris Luxon in a general election last October.