A group of Nelson singers is “buzzing” after serenading Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her baby Neve at Wellington Airport.
The Nayland College choir was en route to an inter-school singing competition in Melbourne on Saturday. Principal Daniel Wilson, who is travelling with the group, said as they waited between flights, they spotted a group of reporters.
When the students discovered Ardern was about to touch down with her six-week-old baby and partner Clarke Gayford, the students saw a chance to help welcome baby Neve to her new Wellington home.
The students checked with the press secretary and was told the PM, returning to Wellington to start work after her six-week maternity leave, “would love it,” Wilson said.
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“So they arranged themselves into a semi circle, and as she came through, they sung the waiata.”
The song, Wairua Tapu, is about being guided by your spirit. The lyrics “you are welcome here, guide us Holy Spirit” seemed like an appropriate serenade for a new baby, Wilson said.
When the song finished, Ardern thanked the choir. “She said it was beautiful, and that they helped put the baby to sleep.”
The students were “absolutely buzzing” after the impromptu performance, he said. “They’re amazing, they saw an opportunity to do something really special. I think they got as much out of it as she did.”
The principal said he was proud of the students. “They’re a fantastic bunch, and really talented. What a wonderful way to start our tour.”
However, the high spirits continued for hours after the 3pm airport performance. “It was an interesting experience trying to get them to bed last night,” Wilson said.
The 36 students will take part in the Victorian Schools Music Festival in Melbourne this week, performing in some of the state’s top venues.