Indians are holding pujas and praying for Democraric Party Vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris ahead of the US elections. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Priyanca Radhakrishnan is all set to make her mark. She is New Zealand’s first-ever Indian-origin minister and is part of the cabinet led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Radhakrishnan, 41, born in Chennai and brought up in Singapore, is a two-time Member of Parliament (MP) from Auckland. She has been a member of the Labour Party since 2006.
Radhakrishnan has roots at Paravur, Kochi, where her grandfather was a medical professional. She became a household name in Kerala last Onam when she went “live” with Ardern to extend her greetings on the occasion. She continues to love Malayalam songs and said that the singer she most admires is Malayalam’s legendary KJ Yesudas.
Radhakrishnan’s appointment into the New Zealand cabinet was a “proud moment” for her father R Radhakrishnan, an IIT-Kanpur alumnus hailing from North Paravur in Kerala’s Ernakulam district. “The post of Minister was not totally unexpected. Today, I spoke to her after hearing about her new role. She is thrilled. She is the first Indian to become a minister in the New Zealand government. But I have advised her to not forget the family even while pursuing a career in politics,” he said.
The father told The Indian Express that both their daughters were born in India, but completed school in Singapore before Priyanca moved to Massey University in New Zealand to pursue a course in Development Studies. She made her debut in politics when she contested and got elected as the International Students’ Officer of the Massey University Students Association. Later, senior members of the Labour Party encouraged her to join the party.
Indian politicians as well as businessmen and celebrities cheered forPriyanca Radhakrishnan. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the first to congratulate her.
Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor stated “Keralites taking great pride in this news!”
Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group pointed to the rise of Indian origin politicians across the world and wished Radhakrishnan the best on her appointment.
The Kerala Minister for Health, Social Welfare and Women and Child Development, KK Shailaja, said, “Priyanca is a native of Paravur, Ernakulam. This is the first time an Indian has become a minister in New Zealand.”
Priyanca will be Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities; Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector; and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment. The new Cabinet will be sworn in on Friday. More power to the growing tribe of Indian-origin politicians across the world!