The spotlight on Jacinda Ardern's TV presenter partner Clarke Gayford

Gayford has hosted travel shows, radio shows, and most recently his own fishing show.
Lawrence Smith

Gayford has hosted travel shows, radio shows, and most recently his own fishing show.

Come September, he could be sharing pillow talk with the Prime Minister.

So who is Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford - and what would he be like as New Zealand's First Man?

The first thing to know about Gayford is that he's a guy who loves fishing.

Clarke Gayford is the partner of Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.
CARMEN BIRD

Clarke Gayford is the partner of Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

Last year, ahead of the launch of his Choice TV fishing show Fish Of The Day, he told TV Guide he "live[s] for fishing". By the time he was 10, he knew the Latin, Maori and English names of most New Zealand fish.

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He even structured his day job - hosting George FM's breakfast show - around the day's catch. "I did radio in the morning so I could fish in the afternoon," he said.

Gayford and Ardern celebrate Ardern's victory in the 2017 Mt Albert by-election.
Lawrence Smith

Gayford and Ardern celebrate Ardern's victory in the 2017 Mt Albert by-election.

Gayford was out on the water on the day Ardern was announced as Labour Party leader.

Gayford's love of fishing stems from his childhood growing up on a farm near Gisborne. He was also, he told NZME's Kim Knight, a keen surfer.

Clarke Gayford hosts fishing show Fish Of The Day.

Clarke Gayford hosts fishing show Fish Of The Day.

A stint boarding at a Palmerston North high school took him away from his beloved ocean. He told Knight the experience was like Lord of the Flies.

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George FM is far from Gayford's only broadcasting gig. After he graduated from NZ Broadcasting School he pitched infamous student show Cow TV to Dunedin's Channel 9.

Gayford is a keen surfer and fisherman.
Lawrence Smith

Gayford is a keen surfer and fisherman.

He then headed to Auckland where he was a presenter on the newly launched C4 - and made the most of the Hauraki Gulf's bountiful snapper population.

In September 2000, while working for The Edge, he was detained for two hours at Los Angeles airport after co-host Iain Staples, impersonating an Interpol detective, called Los Angeles police to "warn" them Gayford and colleagues Jason Reeves, Jay-Jay Harvey (nee Feeney) were trying to enter the United States with kiwi eggs hidden in their "rear cavities".

He was a host on the United Travel Getaway in 2007, and in 2010 was brought in as presenter on the third season of Extraordinary Kiwis.

Gayford in his C4 days with co-host Jaquie Brown.
Renee Williams

Gayford in his C4 days with co-host Jaquie Brown.

He's also hosted More FM's drive slot and occasionally fills in on Seven Sharp.

Gayford bet his own savings on Fish Of The Day, and it's a gamble that has paid off. The series won a gold award at the prestigious Houston International Film Festival and has been sold into 20 countries.

He told Knight he met Ardern because of a constituency issue. He was angry about the potential erosion of privacy proposed by the Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Bill in 2013. He tried his local MP, Nikki Kaye, but got no response, so instead wrote to Ardern.

Gayford attends the Vodafone Music Awards in 2012 with then-partner Shavaughn Ruakere.
Lawrence Smith

Gayford attends the Vodafone Music Awards in 2012 with then-partner Shavaughn Ruakere.

The two met for coffee, bonded over a shared interest in music, and the rest, as they say, is history. Gayford took Ardern on her first ever fishing trip, where she caught a 5.5kg snapper.

"I couldn't have chosen a better day. The sea went glass flat and there were whales and dolphins on cue everywhere," he told TV Guide.

Ardern is not Gayford's first high-profile relationship. He was often seen at Auckland events with his former partner, actress Shavaughn Ruakere.

It's fair to say that, should Labour get enough votes to form a government with Ardern as Prime Minister, Gayford would be a different breed of First Man than Helen Clark's husband, sociologist Peter Davis.

Davis, a bearded and bookish professor at the University of Auckland, was rarely seen alongside Clark in public appearances.

Gayford is perhaps a little more used to living in the public eye, and his obsession with fishing is something many Kiwis can relate to.

Whether he'll take an active role in Ardern's campaigning - or her leadership of the country, should it come to pass - remains to be seen.

 - Stuff

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