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HomeNew Zealand‘It reminds you what’s most important’: Jacinda Ardern reveals father’s cancer battle

‘It reminds you what’s most important’: Jacinda Ardern reveals father’s cancer battle

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First published on NZ Herald

Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says family time will be more important than ever this Christmas after revealing her father has had treatment for cancer this year.

Ardern told the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly her father, Ross Ardern, has had a “good” recovery from cancer but is not as active as he would like to be.

Ardern said surgery to his kidney as part of his cancer treatment left him with a surgical hernia.

“That’s limiting for him and how active he can be,” she told the magazine, adding it was not a great situation for a man who was “always on the go”.

Ardern said her father’s treatment ha put everything in perspective.

“We’re a very tight-knit family and that was certainly the case for our family recently,” she told the Weekly.

“It just reminds you what’s really most important and that’s to spend as much quality time together as you can.

“That’s the enduring lesson for me.”

Ardern’s mother had breast cancer “years ago” and fully recovered.

Ardern told the magazine she was looking forward to Christmas as it was the only “proper leave” she got all year.

She was planning to spend summer in New Zealand with family.

“One of the things that Covid really showed me was how much I enjoy having summer in New Zealand,” she told the Weekly.

Ardern did not mention if those summer plans included her rescheduled wedding to Clarke Gayford after their nuptials were called off due to the Omicron outbreak in January.

Ross Ardern was the administrator of Tokelau, based in Auckland, from 2018 to 2022.

Before holding that role he spent many years serving New Zealand in the South Pacific.

He was High Commissioner in Niue from 2014 to 2018 and was previously in Samoa as the NZ Police liaison officer for the South Pacific from 2009 to 2013.

He was Commissioner of Police for Niue from 2005 to 2009.

* This story was first published on the NZ Herald

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