Priyanca Radhakrishnan was appointed as New Zealand’s first-ever Indian-origin minister today, November 2. Radhakrishnan is one of the five new members that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has brought into her executive. She will manage the following portfolios: Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment. Forty-one-year-old Radhakrishnan is all set to be sworn in on Friday, November 6.
Personal Life And Education
Born in 1979, in Chennai, to Paravoor Madavanaparambu Raman Radhakrishnan and Usha Radhakrishnan, Priyanca Radhakrishnan has her roots in Kerala’s Ernakulam district. New Indian Express reports her great- grandfather was a prominent figure in Kerala’s left-wing progressive politics and played a crucial role in the formation of the state.
Priyanca pursued her elementary education at a Singapore school. Consequently, she went on to pursue her master’s degree in development studies from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She was elected as the International Students’ Officer on the Massey University Students Association at university. In 2010, Radhakrishnan went on to marry an IT professional from Christchurch in Hammer Springs. She currently resides in Auckland with her husband and two rescue dogs.
Foray Into Politics
The Hindu cites Radhakrishnan has spent her life championing the cause of female survivors of domestic violence and migrant workers who have been exploited. She joined New Zealand’s Labour Party in 2006 and even served as a Policy Advisor to former Labour MP and current Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff. Eventually, in 2017, she was elected as a Member of Parliament belonging to the Labour Party. Furthermore, she was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa in 2019. Radhakrishnan’s work in these roles and areas has helped paved the way for her present political achievements.
Social Causes And Initiatives
The official website of the Labour Party describes Priyanca Radhakrishnan as someone who “ strongly believes that everyone – regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or socio-economic status – should have the opportunity to live with dignity.” Additionally, she believes in community-based decision making rather than a privileged few calling the shots for everyone.
Radhakrishnan is a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, National Council of Women (Auckland), and UN Women. Additionally, she is also an active member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee and Deputy Chair of the Social Services & Community select committee. A staunch supporter of animal welfare causes, Radhakrishnan has done substantial work to ensure dog-friendly spaces.
Picture Credits: Indian Weekender and India Today
Tarini Gandhiok is an intern with SheThePeople.TV