Maori Woman With Facial Tattoo Becomes New Zealand's First Female Foreign Minister

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Maori Woman With Facial Tattoo Becomes New Zealand's First Female Foreign Minister

Photo: New Zealand’s Minister of Maori Development and Local Government Nanaia Mahuta and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Sydney, Australia. February 2020. © AFP / Pool / Bianca de Marchi

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed the first-ever Maori politician, and first ever female politician, to the position of Foreign Minister after the New Zealand Labour Party won a huge electoral victory last month.

Nanaia Mahuta who is closely related to the Maori royal family, has been appointed to the senior government role. The role of foreign minister is the highest office of government anyone from a Maori background has ever held.

Ardern said Mahuta:

"Demonstrates those diplomacy skills that we need to represent New Zealand on the world stage."

Mahurta says that she will be advancing a progressive agenda and will continue to promote the rights of the Maori community on a domestic level, she said:

"What we know more than ever before in the Covid context is that, as a small country, we need to develop our relationships and remain committed to a multilateral, rules-based trade system that works for New Zealand."

Mahuta has served as member of the New Zealand Parliament since 2002 and was the first person to do so with a Maori facial tattoo, known as a moko kauae, that sits on her chin. She was appointed as Maori development minister and minister for local government in 2017.

She received her tattoo in 2016 to mark the anniversary of her father's death.

She spoke to The Guardian regarding her tattoo, saying:

"Moko is a statement of identity, like a passport. I am at a time in my life where I am ready to make a clear statement that this is who I am, and this is my position in New Zealand."

The New Zealand Labour Party won a landslide victory in the 2020 General elections, beating the National Party by 23%. The landslide was largely based on the popularity of Jacinda Ardern and her government response to CoVid-19 which saw the country record only 2,000 cases and 25 deaths. Although there have been small numbers of cases here and there, the disease is now essentially eradicated from the country, mostly thanks to a strong test-and-trace system and a closing of the borders to the island nation.

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Thinking Humanity: Maori Woman With Facial Tattoo Becomes New Zealand's First Female Foreign Minister
Maori Woman With Facial Tattoo Becomes New Zealand's First Female Foreign Minister
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed the first-ever Maori politician, and first ever female politician, to the position of Foreign
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