Chris Hipkins takes charge as the new PM of New Zealandtext_fields
Wellington: After stunning the nation by abruptly announcing her departure from the position last week, Jacinda Ardern was officially replaced as prime minister of New Zealand on Wednesday.
During a ceremony in the nation's capital, Wellington, the 44-year-old Chris Hipkins was sworn in as the new prime minister by the governor-general of New Zealand.
"This is the biggest privilege and responsibility of my life," Hipkins said after formally taking office, AFP reported.
"I'm energized and excited by the challenges ahead."
After leading the nation through a series of natural disasters, its worst-ever terrorist attack, and the Covid-19 outbreak, Ardern claimed last week that she no longer had "enough in the tank."
Earlier on Wednesday, she made her final public appearance as prime minister, leaving the unique Beehive parliament building to a spontaneous round of applause from hundreds of onlookers.
During her five years in office, Ardern established herself as a leading figure in progressive politics, and Prince William was among the first to congratulate her.
"Thank you Jacinda Ardern for your friendship, leadership and support over the years, not least at the time of my grandmother's death," he wrote on his official Twitter account.
Yusuf "Cat" Stevens, a folk musician, also complimented Ardern. Stevens performed at a memorial performance for the 51 victims of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting.
He said on Twitter that Ardern "kept New Zealanders together following the terror attack in Christchurch".
Following her initial election as prime minister in 2017, Ardern rode the "Jacindamania" wave to a resounding victory in 2020, securing a second term.