The first moko-wearing, Māori-speaking and female face to represent Aotearoa

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern proudly acknowledged Nanaia Mahuta today, as she announced the Hauraki-Waikato MP would become the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as "the first woman in our nation’s history to hold this portfolio."

Ardern said Mahuta brought the experience of being an associate trade minister in the last cabinet to her new top role.

Being a wahine is one part of her glass ceiling-breaking move but the other is that she speaks fluent Māori and is adorned with the markings of her ancestors. That makes the face of the country seen on the world stage not only female, with a moko kauae, but also speaking Te Reo Māori. 

Mahuta says she and her Māori colleagues will be taking indigenous knowledge into their new roles.