A Malayali descendent in Jacinda Arden’s queerest cabinet : A new chapter in the history of New Zealand

Following the victory of Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, the appointment of the newly formed cabinet ministers has brought joy and pride to the Malayali community as well as the India nation itself. PriyancaRadhakrishnan, who has her roots in Kerala’s Ernakulum district, has been appointed as the first-ever Kiwi- Indian Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities; Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector; and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment.

PriyancaRadhakrishnan is 41 and she has been a working member of the Labour Party since 2006. Her husband, Richardson, a New Zealand citizen has recently joined the party. She was born in Chennai, grew up in Singapore, and moved to New Zealand to pursue higher studies after her parents decided to settle in Chennai, India. After completing her graduation from Victoria University of Wellington, she took active participation in social works and has spent her time advocating on behalf of people whose voices are often unheard or suppressed – especially for women survivors of domestic violence migrant workers who have been exploited.

                “It gives us immense happiness to learn that PriyancaRadhakrishnan has become the first-ever Indian-origin Minister of New Zealand. The Labour party leader has her roots in Kerala. On behalf of the people of the State, we extend our warmest greetings.” – tweetedPinarayiVijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala.

Priyanca has made her political debut by winning the election of 2017 as the Labour Party MP. In 2019, she was appointed as the parliamentary private secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities, which has provided a base for the 2020 elections. She visited Kerala in July 2019 to attend the rituals related to the death of her mother. In New Zealand, the Malayali Community is much excited to welcome their new Minister after being sworn into the post on Friday. Besides PriyancaRadhakrishnan, Jacinda Arden has also appointed Grant Robertson as the Deputy Prime Minister, making him the first gay person in the country to hold a position in the cabinet and NanaiaMahuta, the first Maori woman to occupy the post of the Foreign Minister, in the history of New Zealand. Mahuta has a traditional Maori chin tattoo and that makes her the first woman to do so while serving as a minister. Of the 20 New Zealand Cabinet ministers, 8 are women, 5 are Maori, 3 are Pacifika and another 3 are LGBT.

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