New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appoint the country’s first Indigenous woman as foreign minister but also the first Indigenous woman to take on the role.
Nanaia Mahuta with a Maori facial tattoo will be sworn in along with 19 other cabinet members on Friday.
Ms Mahuta was first elected to parliament in 1996, and has previously held a number of portfolios, including local government and Māori development.
Māori people make up 15% of New Zealand’s population and without equal representation, their needs and concerns can go unaddressed. When Indigenous women have a seat at the table, they can help close the gaps between policymakers and the communities impacted by their decisions.
Ms Ardern announced her new cabinet on Monday after a landslide re-election victory last month.
Speaking about her cabinet’s diversity, Ardern said the appointments were made on merit.
She described her ministers as an “incredibly diverse” group that “reflect the New Zealand that elected us”.
“This is a cabinet, and an executive, that is based on merit, who also happen to be incredibly diverse and I’m proud of that.”
Ardern promoted Mahuta, an MP for Hauraki-Waikato who has spent more than two decades in Parliament, to the job on Monday.
The prime minister also appointed Grant Robertson as deputy prime minister, making him the first openly gay person to hold the role.
Robertson, 49, has long acted as Ardern’s right-hand man. He was formerly the country’s purse finance minister during her first term and was chief strategist of her election campaign.
The new cabinet will be sworn in on Friday after the Electoral Commission confirms the final vote count. it will meet for the first time later that afternoon.