After being re-elected in a landslide victory last month, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to make positive progressive change in the country. Yesterday, she 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. She is related to the current Māori monarch, Kingi Tuheitia. Mahuta follows the first male indigenous foreign minister, Winston Peters, who is also Māori.
Mahuta joins an already incredibly diverse parliament. Nearly half the lawmakers in Ardern’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.
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