It was the first day of Ardern's new parliament, and the country was rocked by the tragedy.
In an article published yesterday on Stuff.co.nz, the killer, identified only as Chris, came forward to tell his story. As First Cat of New Zealand, Paddles was widely beloved.
The man, who asked to only be identified as Chris, said he got out of his vehicle to see what he had hit and saw a cat run off. After knocking on doors in the street, one of Ardern's neighbors told him that it was the prime minister's cat. When he rounded the corner, a cat streaked across the street in front of the auto.
After seeing her at the park with friends, Chris went up to her and told her he lived locally before apologising for killing Paddles.
Chris and the neighbour eventually found Paddles but realised straight away that she hadn't survived.
Chris' two daughters wrote sympathy cards for the Ardern-Clarkes, with one asking the Prime Minister to not send her dad to jail.
I went over and knocked on the door and Clarke [Ardern's partner] came out. Chris, attempting to right his inadvertent wrong, went over to the Prime Minister's house that afternoon - something you can apparently do in New Zealand, and I'm not sure why I'm surprised about that. "He was really nice and said 'Look, it could have happened to anyone.' He was clearly very upset".
Just months later Chris received a phone call from the Prime Minister, who had received his daughters' heartfelt letters.
While Ms Ardern's phone call to Chris eased some of his guilt, he felt he needed to approach her in person.
However, my son goes over - he was four at the time - and starts playing with her niece on those circular seats that spin round and Jacinda was essentially overseeing them both.
"It was extremely nice of her to take time out of her day to check that I was OK for running over her cat", he said. When he backed out of his driveway, Paddles ran into the road, and he hit her. She even had close to 11,000 followers on her very own Twitter account, where she advocated for refugees and showed off her funky extra toes.
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