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Jacinda Ardern Appoints New Zealand's First Ever Female Indigenous Foreign Minister

Jacinda Ardern Appoints New Zealand's First Ever Female Indigenous Foreign Minister

New Zealand premier Jacinda Arden has appointed the country's first ever indigenous female foreign minister, in what is being considered one of the most diverse parliamentary cabinets in the world.

The post has been accepted by Nanaia Mahuta, who is the first Māori woman to take up the role.

The 50-year-old also wears a moko kauae - a traditional Māori tattoo. She is the first female member of parliament to have one while in office.

Nanaia Mahuta is the country's first female foreign minister (Credit: PA Images)
Nanaia Mahuta is the country's first female foreign minister (Credit: PA Images)
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Discussing her appointment to the cabinet, Mahuta told Radio New Zealand: "We're the first country to give women the right to vote, the first country to ensure that we are progressive on issues relating to women.

"So I follow in the line of a long legacy of firsts for women, and I hope many other women of Māori and mixed descent across New Zealand will see this as lifting the ceiling once again on areas that have been very much closed to us in terms of professional opportunities."

Winston Peters, the country's previous foreign minister, was also Māori.

Jacinda Arden has made one of the world's most diverse cabinets (Credit: PA Images)
Jacinda Arden has made one of the world's most diverse cabinets (Credit: PA Images)
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Kelvin Davis, another indigenous New Zealander, has been appointed minister for children.

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The cabinet shuffle comes after Arden, 40, secured a landslide victory against the National Party candidate Judith Collins to win a second term in office.

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The head of state has been widely praised across the globe for her response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with New Zealand having among some of the lowest infection rates in the world.

Arden has also appointed the country's first openly gay deputy prime minister in the reshuffle.

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The New Zealand Prime Minister says her appointments were made on merit (Credit: PA Images)
The New Zealand Prime Minister says her appointments were made on merit (Credit: PA Images)

Former Finance Minister Grant Robertson was named deputy prime minister, becoming the first openly gay politician to take the role, while he also retaining the finance portfolio.

Speaking about her diverse cabinet, Arden said each position was assigned on merit.

"I think one of the amazing things about New Zealand is that we are often in a space now where all of these questions (about diversity) become secondary," she said.

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"The representation is there. And that is not the first consideration."

Featured Image Credit: Twitter: Nanaia Mahuta

Topics: News, Life, Politics

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Kimberley Bond

Kim is a journalist at Tyla, and has previously worked at the Evening Standard, Radio Times as well as several national newspapers. A showbiz obsessive and a television fanatic, Kim is particularly interested in celebrity gossip, A-list events and the latest releases on either the big or small screen. Contact her at [email protected]