2 Jan, 2021 12:12 AM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with the staff at All Things Organic in Tairua, Gina Easton, Emily Ryan, Xanthe Cottier-Hall, Natasha Woolley, Zoe Bourne. Photo / Supplied
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern finished 2020 off with a real fruit ice cream during a family holiday in Tairua.
Ardern has spent the last few days in the small town on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, where she rang in the new year with fiancé Clarke Gayford and daughter Neve.
On New Year’s Eve, Ardern visited the All Things Organic store in Tairua with Gayford and Neve and even jumped behind the counter for a “quick shift”.
“It was a nice surprise,” shop owner Gina Easton told the Herald.
“We had heard she had visited a number of Tairua cafes. But it was still a lovely surprise to see her and that she had chosen to visit our store.”
It was one of the store’s busiest days and Easton says Ardern’s visit added to the end of the year excitement.
“It was one of our busiest days of the year. We were all delighted to see her – there were a few nerves serving her and making her order of ice creams. She was so easy to talk to and was more than happy to have a photo with our staff. It is so nice that she is patronising so many of our businesses here in Tairua,” Easton added.
“She even popped around the back of the counter for ‘a quick shift’ and took a photo with the staff.”
Later that day, Ardern posted a photo of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display from Tairua to her Instagram account, admitting it is not often she stays up that late these days.
“It’s not often I stay up to see the new year in these days (not since we had a baby anyway) but this year, I wanted to make sure I saw the back of 2020,” she wrote.
“To everyone who helped us get through this year, thank you. While there are plenty of challenges ahead I feel more confident than ever that we’re all up for it. Happy New Year Aotearoa!”
Those who spotted the Prime Minister in town say she kept a low profile.
One holidaymaker said he spotted her wearing a large floppy hat and sunglasses in Tairua.
“It was noticeable how no one noticed her in town yesterday. She was walking about, chatting on her phone, with two very unobtrusive Diplomatic Protection Service (DPS) guys behind her.
“I only noticed as I rode up behind them (on a bike) and saw their ear pieces, I commented to one of the guys as he was standing outside Four Square while she was chatting on phone… ‘only in New Zealand eh?’ And he said ‘too right’,”