In a proud moment for Indians living in New Zealand, Priyanca Radhakrishnan on Monday became the country's first-ever Indian-origin minister after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern inducted five new ministers into her executive. Born in Chennai, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, 41, went to school in Singapore before moving to New Zealand to further her education. She attended Victoria University of Wellington and graduated with a master's degree in Development Studies.
A social worker by heart, Radhakrishnan has spent her work life advocating on behalf of people whose voices are often unheard -- women survivors of domestic violence and migrant workers who face exploitation in foreign countries.
She joined the New Zealand Labour Party in March 2014. From 2012-2015, she worked as policy analysts and research & communication assistant (ethnic communities). She has been the Labour Party candidate for Maungakiekie since November 2016. In 2019, she was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities. Her work in that area has helped her build the base for her new role of Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities.
In addition to this, she has become the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment. She has become New Zealand's first-ever Kiwi Indian Minister, the New Zealand Herald newspaper quoted Indian Weekender as saying.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan currently lives in Auckland with her husband.
Announcing the names of the new ministers, Prime Minister Ardern said: "I am excited to be bringing in some new talent, with the first-hand experience in the areas that they will be working in, and reflecting the New Zealand that elected us on the 17th of October. Within this lineup, I''m playing to people''s strengths."
"This is a Cabinet and an executive that is based on merit but also happens to be incredibly diverse," Ardern said, days after her centre-left Labour Party won a landslide victory in the country's general election. The new executive will be sworn in on Friday, which will be followed by the Cabinet's first meeting. "Much of what we're focused on is making sure we've got our economic recovery hastened," the 40-year-old prime minister said.
With PTI inputs