Chris Hipkins confirmed as NZ premier replacing Ardern

STORY: "This is the biggest privilege and biggest responsibility of my life," Hipkins said announcing his appointment. "I am energised and excited by the challenge that lies ahead."

The 44-year-old was appointed to the top job following the surprise resignation on Thursday (January 19) by Ardern, who said she had "no more in the tank" to lead the country.

Hipkins named Carmel Sepuloni as deputy prime minister, New Zealand's first deputy prime minister of Pacific origin.

Sepuloni, 46, is of Samoan, Tongan and New Zealand European descent. She holds a number of portfolios, including social development and employment and arts, culture and heritage.