The New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has given birth to her first child amid a flurry of excitement in New Zealand.
Ardern posted the news to her Facebook page, saying her daughter was born at 4.45pm.
“Welcome to our village wee one,” she wrote, next to a picture of her and partner Clarke Gayford cuddling the newborn.
“Feeling very lucky to have a healthy baby girl that arrived at 4.45pm weighing 3.31kg (7.3lb). Thank you so much for your best wishes and your kindness. We’re all doing really well thanks to the wonderful team at Auckland City hospital.”
Earlier, a statement from the prime minister’s office said Ardern and Gayford had arrived at Auckland hospital at 5.50am on Thursday.
Winston Peters, the deputy prime minister, is now acting prime minister. The head of the populist New Zealand First party had already taken over some of Ardern’s duties, including running cabinet meetings in Wellington, while she stayed close to home in Auckland.
After Ardern went into hospital, Peters said in a statement: “It’s a happy day and on behalf of the coalition government we wish her and Clarke all the very best.”
Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Greens, said: “I am thinking of Jacinda with so much excitement as she approaches giving birth for the first time. Her and Clarke have my best wishes for this special experience.”
Co-leader James Shaw added: “This is an exciting time for Jacinda and Clarke and an historic moment for our country.”
Ardern’s due date was Sunday and the country had been gripped by a sense of excitement and anticipation in recent days. On Thursday, many major media outlets set up live feeds on their websites with rolling coverage and local journalists camped at the hospital.
Ardern has said there would be little disruption during her time off because she would stay in regular contact with Peters and be involved in major decisions.
Ardern, 37, is only the second world leader to give birth while in office – the first being Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto in 1990.
Ardern has said she will have six weeks maternity leave before heading back to parliament. Gayford, a television presenter, will become “first bloke” and a stay-at-home father to the child.
Ardern had her last pre-birth day in parliament at the start of the week. Her last public outing was at the national Fieldays agricultural show where many fans spent the time wishing her well while some tried to touch her stomach.
Many will be watching Peters closely, while is acting prime minister - he has already backed away from a hallmark crime and justice policy and revealed he is suing heads of departments of his own government.