Press Gallery 150th anniversary: New Zealand prime ministers pose for rare photo

It was a “rare thing” on Friday evening as all New Zealand’s past and present prime ministers, bar one, gathered in a room together.

Attending the 150th anniversary of the Parliamentary Press Gallery were Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, along with former prime ministers Sir John Key, Sir Bill English, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Helen Clark and Jim Bolger.

The only former prime minister missing – living – was Dame Jenny Shipley.

Ardern and Key both gave speeches at the event, held at Te Papa in Wellington, reflecting on their relationships with the media, and sharing some interesting anecdotes.

After the speeches, the six prime ministers gathered for a photo to capture the rare moment.

“It’s a rare thing to have all of the past prime ministers in a room (with the exception of just one) but that happened last night at the 150th Anniversary of the Parliamentary Press Gallery,” Ardern said in a social media post.

“Someone thought it was photo-worthy – and no doubt a few people will think it’s caption-worthy.”

Palmer, 79, was the first of the group to serve as prime minister – New Zealand’s 33rd – from August 1989 until September 1990, leading the Fourth Labour Government.

Bolger, 85, of the National Party was the country’s 35th prime minister, serving from 1990 to 1997.

Clark, 71, served as the 37th prime minister from 1999 to 2008, leading the Labour Party.

Key, 59, was the country’s 38th prime minister, serving from 2008 to 2016 with National.

English, 59, took over from Key in 2016, serving as the 39th prime minister until the 2017 Election, when Ardern, 40, became the country’s 40th prime minister.

The Press Gallery turned 150 last year, but celebrations were delayed because of Covid-19.

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