On Monday, New Zealand appointed its first indigenous female Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta. The prime minister promoted her while announcing the new labor government cabinet, CNN reported.
Four years ago, she also became the country’s first female parliament member to sport a Moko Kauae. A Moko Kauae is a traditional and sacred body art commonly observed amongst the people of Māori.
She is currently also a minister of Māori development. Upon her appointment, she described it as a privilege to lead the conservation in the foreign space.
In the recent elections, the center-left Labour Party led by Jacinda Ardern emerged victoriously. It will be the second term of Ardern after securing 64 from 120 seats. Her party will also be the first to win with such a majority since New Zealand’s current political system in 1996.
Additionally, the upcoming parliament of the country is also known to be the most diverse. It beats the United Kingdom’s previous standards, where seven percent of its House of Commons are from the LGBTQ community.
The newly forming parliament is expected to have 10% of its elects from the community. It has also raised the bar, with almost half of its lawmakers being women. It is higher than the global average of 25%.
Reflecting on the happening, Ardern says, “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.” She additionally stated that it also represents New Zealand for its diversity.
Mahuta was first elected to parliament in 1996. Aside from becoming a foreign minister, she will continue to lead the local government and have an associate role in Māori development.
Ardern appreciated the new minister by saying that she has the required diplomacy skills to represent the country globally. She also says that she shares an excellent working relationship with Mahuta and that she has the ability to build fantastic relationships with anyone very quickly.
The PM also described that it is one of the key skills that a foreign minister should have. The new minister is also related to the late Māori Queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu and the now monarch Kingi Tuheitia.
In 2016, Nanaia Mahuta took part in the traditional ceremony of moko. Moko or Māori is well known for its sacred protocols. It also carries information about the person’s ancestry, history, and status.
Image courtesy of SBS News/YouTube Screenshot
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