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New Zealand PM appoints first female indigenous foreign minister

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden appointed Nanaia Mahuta as the country’s first indigenous female foreign minister.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden appointed Nanaia Mahuta as the country’s first indigenous female foreign minister. 

Nanaia Mahuta is Māori and was first elected to parliament in 1996. In 2016, she became the first female member of parliament to wear a moko kauae, a traditional tattoo on her chin.

Nanaia is related to the current Māori monarch, Kingi Tuheitia. Mahuta follows the first male indigenous foreign minister, Winston Peters, who is also Māori.

Nearly half the lawmakers in Arden’s incoming parliament will be female, a proportion far above the global average of 25 percent. About 10 percent of the incoming parliament are openly LGBTQ as well.

Mahuta’s appointment is a milestone for representation in a parliament that truly reflects the makeup of New Zealand.

Mahuta will represent the values and priorities of New Zealand and its indigenous people on a global stage, demonstrating that indigenous culture deserves a voice in international politics and relations. 

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

“This is a cabinet and an executive that is based on merit that also happen to be incredibly diverse and I am proud of that,” Ardern said Monday as she announced her cabinet.

“They reflect the New Zealand that elected them,” she added.

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