Nanaia Mahuta: New Zealand’s first indigenous female foreign minister

Nanaja Mahuta, who is Māori, took over the charge of foreign affairs succeeding Winston Peters who is also Māori. Nanaia Mahuta was also the country's first female member of parliament who wore a moko kauae, a traditional tattoo on her chin.

New Zealand is going to reshape its parliament as one of the world’s most diverse parliament by appointing Nanaia Mahuta, first Indigenous female parliamentarian, as its foreign minister.

Nanaia Mahuta, who is Māori, took over the charge of foreign affairs succeeding Winston Peters who is also Māori. Māoris are the Indigenous people of New Zealand. Nanaia Mahuta was also the country’s first female member of parliament who wore a moko kauae, a traditional tattoo on her chin.

According to national broadcaster Radio New Zealand, Mahuta said “I’m privileged to be able to lead the conversation in the foreign space.”

Diversity in Parliament

Last month Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was re-elected in a landslide victory. She secured 49.1% of the vote. Ardern’s Center-Left Labour Party is the first to win a majority by taking 64 of the 120 seats after the introduction of a new political system in the country.

Read more: Jacinda Arden wins election with outright majority

More significantly, almost half of the lawmakers in the current parliament will be women. Moreover, around 10% of the parliamentarians are openly LGBTQ.

Ardern, on Monday, while announcing her cabinet said, “This is a cabinet and an executive that is based on merit that also happens to be incredibly diverse and I am proud of that. They reflect the New Zealand that elected them.”

Who is Nanaia Mahuta?

Nanaia Mahuta was first time elected as a parliamentarian in 1996. She already experienced a number of portfolios.

According to RNZ, “Nanaia Mahuta is related to the late Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, and the current Māori monarch, Kingi Tuheitia, according to RNZ. The Kīngitanga, or Māori King movement, dates back more than 160 years and is a significant political presence in New Zealand.”

Mahuta said, according to the RNZ report, “I’ve just thought about more a longer projection of my walk in life and kind of the way I want to go forward and make a contribution. That’s the main thing for me.”

 

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