Earthquake Interrupts New Zealand Prime Minister's Live TV Interview, but She Keeps Going
New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was only briefly fazed when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake disrupted a live TV interview she was giving on Monday morning — an unflappability that quickly went viral.
While she later told reporters she was thinking to herself "Are you serious?" Ardern, 39, continued with the interview on The AM Show, a morning news program.
"We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here, Ryan, quite a decent shake here," she told reporter Ryan Bridge in the interview, interrupting herself as the camera shook.
"If you see things moving behind me — the Beehive moves a little more than most," she continued, referring to part of New Zealand's parliamentary complex.
Bridge asked Ardern if the earthquake had stopped and if she felt "safe and well to continue."
"No, we’re fine Ryan," she said. "I’m not under any hanging lights. I look like I’m in a structurally sound place."
According to news reports, the earthquake was first reported shortly before 8 a.m. local time off the western coast of New Zealand, north of Levin.
"It was quite deep, so that mitigates a lot of the damaging effects, and being 30 kilometers offshore also helps a great deal," a seismologist told the Herald. "Then at 5.8 it is not so huge, and that all helps not cause any serious damage."
At a news conference later Monday, Ardern told reporters that while she was surprised by the earthquake, she was "also mindful ... that it’s not always easy to get a real sense of the magnitude of an earthquake in here," because of the earthquake-proofing construction.
Her live reaction was widely shared on social media, with many praising her calm.
"I get more rattled when I get a phone call and my ringer isn’t on silent than the prime minister of New Zealand gets during an earthquake," one user wrote.
Another tweeted: "Why am I not surprised that Jacinda Ardern casually takes an earthquake interrupting her interview in her stride."