Priyanca Radhakrishnan poses for a photograph in Auckland. Twitter photo
Keralite Priyanca Radhakrishnan on Monday became the first Indian to be sworn in as a minister in New Zealand as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled her new cabinet.
The 41-year-old has been sworn in as the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector.
Ardern also named finance minister Grant Robertson as deputy prime minister in her new government after Labour Party deputy leader Kelvin Davis ruled himself out from standing.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan takes a selfie after sapling a plant during her visit to Kerala. Twitter photo
Radhakrishnan, born in Chennai and brought up in Singapore, has her roots at Paravur, Kochi, where her grandfather was a medical professional as well as a Communist.
A two-time MP from Auckland, she reached New Zealand to pursue her higher studies. Since 2004 she has been in active politics with the Labour Party.
She shot into prominence and became a household name in Kerala during last Onam when she came live with Ardern to extend her greetings on the occasion.
Radhakrishnan continues her love with Malayalam songs and she said her most admired singer is none other popular Keralite playback singer K.J. Yesudas.
Ardern said her government's top priorities will be to drive economic recovery from COVID-19 while continuing to shield the country from the virus, which has largely been kept at bay.
"The next three years will be very challenging for New Zealand. With the global outlook worsening we won't be immune to the ongoing impact COVID is having around the world," Ardern told reporters in Wellington.
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