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Priyanca Radhakrishnan, NZ’s first-ever PIO minister, has roots in Chennai

Priyanca Radhakrishnan on Monday became New Zealand’s first-ever Indian-origin minister after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern inducted five new ministers into her executive.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan, NZ’s first-ever PIO minister, has roots in Chennai
Priyanca Radhakrishnan


Priyanka, who was born in India, lived in Chennai and still has family here according to some reports. She then moved to Singapore with her parents, where she did her schooling. Priyanca went to New Zealand to pursue her higher studies. Priyanka is the granddaughter of Dr CR Krishna Pilla, one of the leaders of the United Kerala Movement.She has spent her work life advocating on behalf of people whose voices are often unheard women survivors of domestic violence, and migrant workers who have been exploited.

She was elected first as a Member of Parliament belonging to the Labour Party in September 2017. In 2019, she was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities. Her work in that area has helped her build the base for her new role of Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities.

In addition to this, she has become the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment. She has become New Zealand’s first-ever Kiwi Indian Minister, according to reports.

Radhakrishnan, who is from the 2017 intake of new MPs, is a minister outside of the Cabinet.

Announcing the names of the new ministers, Prime Minister Ardern said: “I am excited to be bringing in some new talent, with first hand experience in the areas that they will be working in, and reflecting the New Zealand that elected us on the 17th of October . Priyanca, who had recently attended the Manukau Deepavali festival organised by Radiotarana, said, “The message of Deepavali - the victory of good over evil- is one that resonates across communities. It’s particularly poignant now as the world continues to grapple with a surge in COVID-19 cases & further lockdowns. It’s definitely worth celebrating the fact that we can gather in large numbers here in NZ.”

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