#LLABlog – New Zealand appoints Nanaia Mahuta as its first Indigenous female foreign minister

Nanaia Mahuta


New Zealand appointed its first Indigenous female foreign minister Monday to represent what’s shaping up to be one of the most diverse parliaments in the world.

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. The country’s 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. Mahuta was first elected to parliament in 1996, and has previously held a number of portfolios, including 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.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s incoming parliament looks set to 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 — higher than the previous title holder, the United Kingdom, where about 7% of the members of the House of Commons are openly gay, according to a national broadcaster Television New Zealand. New Zealand’s new deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson is also gay.

Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum congratulated Mahuta on her appointment as foreign minister, with Simon Bridges — the former leader of the centre-right National Party — saying: “It’s an important time internationally and you’ll be great.”

We congratulate Nanaia Mahuta on achieving this great milestone. 

This article was culled from CNN

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