Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appointed New Zealand’s first Indigenous female foreign minister Monday to represent what is becoming one of the most diverse parliaments in the world.
The new foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta, who is Māori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand, four years ago also became the country’s first female member of parliament to wear a moko kauae, a traditional tattoo on her chin. previous foreign minister, Winston Peters, is also Māori.
“I’m privileged to be able to lead the conversation in the foreign space,” Mahuta said, according to national broadcaster Radio New Zealand.
Last month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s center-left Labour Party was reelected in a landslide, winning 49.1% of the vote according to preliminary results. Taking 64 of the 120 seats, her party was the first to win a majority since the country’s current political system was introduced in 1996.
Already setting trens, Ardern’s incoming parliament will be one of the most diverse in the world. Almost half of the country’s lawmakers will be women — significantly higher than the global average of 25%. Around 10% of the incoming parliament are openly LGBTQ
“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.
About Nanaia Mahuta
Mahuta was first elected to parliament in 1996, her portfolio includes the minister of local government and Māori development.
She 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.
In 2016, Mahuta took part in a traditional moko — or Māori tattooing design — ceremony, and became the first woman to wear a moko kauae to parliament.
At the time, Mahuta said she hadn’t given a lot of thought to how her tattoo would break new ground. “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,” she said, according to the RNZ report.