New Zealand Prime Minister Cancels Wedding Plans with 'First Man of Fishing' amid Omicron: 'Such Is Life'

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New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford
New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford

Phil Walter/Getty

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has canceled her wedding plans due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 omicron variant and restrictions she announced to mitigate its spread.

"My wedding won't be going ahead but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic," Ardern, 41, said at a press briefing on Sunday. "To anyone who's caught up in that scenario, I'm so sorry."

Arden and her partner, TV host Clarke Gayford, had reportedly planned to marry this weekend. The couple of nearly 10 years have a daughter, Neve, 3.

Arden told reporters during the briefing that nine cases of omicron have been confirmed in New Zealand. A family that traveled to Auckland a week ago for a wedding, a funeral, a visit to an amusement park and the city's Sky Tower, a popular tourist attraction, tested positive when they returned home to the South Island, Motueka, Arden said. A flight attended also tested positive.

New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford
New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford

Derek Henderson/Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand via Getty

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Because omicron is highly infectious, Arden said it is certainly now circulating in and around Auckland. She announced the country will move to its "red" setting for restrictions.

"We are all so resilient and I know we understand that we're doing this for one another and I know that it will help us continue on," Arden told reporters.

Asked how she feels about postponing her wedding plans, the prime minister said, "Such is life."

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"I am no different to, dare I say it, thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic, the most gutting of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they are gravely ill," she added. "That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience."

Arden and Gayford, who hosts a travel docuseries in New Zealand called Fish of the Day, announced their engagement in 2019.

On his show, Gayford, 45, travels to different locations around the Pacific to catch fish and learn about species in the area. "The challenge is then to hunt out the very best local chef he can find and unlock a secret mouth-watering recipe for his Fish of the Day," according to a description of the show.

A book Gayford wrote of stories and recipes from Fish of the Day refers to him as New Zealand's "First Man of Fishing."

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