New Zealand's new cabinet, headed by Jacinda Ardern, is being hailed 'incredibly diverse'. The 20-member cabinet includes, 8 women and 3 members from the LGBTQ community.
New Zealand appointed its first Indigenous female foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta. Grant Robertson has also been named deputy PM, the first openly gay man in the role.— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 2, 2020
The new parliament is the most diverse ever, and the cabinet is 40% female, 25% Maori and 15% LGBTQ+. pic.twitter.com/OXI0WRJ4pl
While the entire world is proud of it, Indians have yet another reason to celebrate and feel proud. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, a native of Ernakulam in Kerala, created history by becoming the first-ever Indian-origin minister in Jacinda's cabinet.
Priyanca is a second-time MP and has been given three key portfolios - Community and Voluntary Sector, Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic communities, Youth. She has also been made an Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment.
While Priyanca traces her roots back to Paravur in Kochi, she was born in Chennai, where most of her relatives, including her father, are located.
Priyanca's father R Radhakrishnan is an IIT-Kanpur alumnus and had moved to Singapore in 1972 with his family. She completed her elementary schooling in Singapore and moved to New Zealand to pursue a higher course in Development Studies.
The 41-year-old MP's first tryst with politics was when she contested and got elected as the International Students’ Officer of the Massey University Students Association. Later she joined the Labour Party and started taking an active interest in politics.
She also worked as a social worker among the Indian community in New Zealand. In 2010, Priyanca went on to marry an IT professional from Christchurch. She currently resides in Auckland with her husband and two rescue dogs.
Priyanca was elected as an MP in Jacinda's Labour Party in 2017.
Speaking to the Indian Express, her father R Radhakrishnan said that while he was extremely proud of his daughter's appointment as a minister, this wasn't totally unexpected. He had always nudged and supported her daughter to pursue a career in politics.
Today, I spoke to her after hearing about her new role. She is thrilled. She is the first Indian to become a Minister in the New Zealand Government. But I have advised her to not forget the family even while pursuing a career in politics.
This Onam, she even went live with Jacinda Ardern to extend her greetings to the Malayali community.
A staunch supporter of animal welfare, Priyanca has done substantial work to ensure dog-friendly spaces in New Zealand.
This is how Priyanca decribes herself on the official website of the Labour Party:
I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live with dignity-that means having equitable access to safe and affordable housing, quality education and healthcare and decent, secure work.
Indian community across the world is proud of her accomplishments.