Priyanca Radhakrishnan: 1st Minister in New Zealand

On 2nd November, a new cabinet in New Zealand led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced and appointed an Indian-born politician named Priyanca Radhakrishnan as a Minister in the New Zealand cabinet. Priyanca, newly appointed minister, her father Radhakrishnan is an IIT-Kanpur alumnus and she hails from North Paravur in Kerala’s Ernakulam district. Her father said it was a proud moment for him and he is not surprised by this achievement made by her daughter.

Her Radhakrishan said he was not surprised because he was nudging his daughter toward New Zealand politics. As per his father, Priyanca had gone to New Zealand to pursue her higher studies in Singapore. In 2017, she went on to become an MP in Arden’s Labour Party.

Post of Minister was not totally unexpected

Her father Radhakrishan who is settled in Chennai said that the Minister’s post was not totally unexpected. He said that he believed that her daughter would get some greater role in New Zealand’s government and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had indicated the same to Priyanca about it.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Jacinda Ardern
Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Jacinda Ardern ( Image Source: Facebook)

He added that he spoke to her daughter after getting the news of the new role assigned to her. She said that she is thrilled that she is the first Indian to become a Minister in the New Zealand Government. Her father also said that he advised her to not forget the family even while pursuing a career in politics.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan’s career so far 

Priyanca Radhakrishnan, 41 years old has been a member of the Labour Party since 2006. Her husband named Richardson who is New Zealand citizen and working with an IT firm recently joined the Labour Party. Priyanca and Richardson met when Priyanca was working with NGO for women survivors of Domestic violence and migrant workers. After the marriage, both decided not to have children for the sake of Priyanca’s political career.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan had last visited Kerala last year July to take part in the rituals related to the death of her mother Usha who had died in February 2019. According to her father, when Priyanca’s mother was hospitalized in Chennai, Priyanca was there but due to meeting in London, she could not be present when her mother breathed her last. Priyanca’s elder sister Manavi is settling in Canada and married to Canadian management professional.

Priyanca’s father moved to Singapore in 1972 where he worked as a port engineer and returned to Chennai in 1999. Priyanca and his elder sister completed her school in Singapore. Priyanca moved to Massey University, New Zealand to pursue a course in Development Studies.

She made her political debut when she contested and got elected as the International Student’s Officer of the Massey University’s Student Association. After that Priyanca, decided to stay back in New Zealand. Senior leaders of the Labour party encouraged Priyanca to join the party. He said that her daughter is very hardworking and has excellent oratory skills and we encouraged and supported her decision to join politics in New Zealand.

The new cabinet will be sworn in on 6th November. Priyanca Radhakrishnan will be going to held the ministerial post of Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities; Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector; and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment.

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