At 26 years old in 2002, Nanaia Mahuta was the youngest Mori woman elected to the New Zealand parliament. In November 2020, after two decades of the parliamentary leadership, Mahuta became the first Mori woman to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
She is a member of the nation’s most diverse Cabinet ever, elected by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose government was lauded for its rapid and effective reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mahuta, speaking at the World Economic Forum in 2021, underlined the significance of pandemic leadership that tries to both empower and protect. “As a government, we take a science-based informed approach, and we don’t just respond—we educate the public to get them to understand the global pandemic and the tools of our continued response.”