Wellington, New Zealand – Nanaia Mahuta was only 11 years old when she began to stand for political reasons.
Mahuta was one of 30 Maori and Pacific Island students at an Anglican girls’ school and a South African rugby team was visiting New Zealand, sharing the country at the time.
While the girl was unaware of what was about to happen soon as one of the biggest upheavals in New Zealand history, she could not say that her school had promised to host a group of South African students – an idea she saw confirmed racism.
Instead of just saying “get rid of it”, they just skipped school to destroy it.
“As a Maori mother there is a strong sense of social justice, and I am striving for equal opportunity and development for Indians,” she told Al Jazeera.
“If you had grown up in a Maori area you would have been the victim of inhuman and degrading treatment – racism.”
Sir Robert Te Kotahitanga’s daughter – Maori King Koroki’s adopted son – Mahuta grew up helping her father with the big discussions.
He has spent almost half of his life in Parliament, winning a seat at the age of 26.
In 2016, Mahuta became the first woman to present a moko kauae (a holy face) in Parliament, and last year she made herself the first one – to become the first female minister in New Zealand.
The election of the 50-year-old was a surprise, according to politician Ben Thomas.
“Foreign ministers are seen as a ‘golden watch’ for a long time, or even favored by friends and colleagues,” he said. “Hats do not agree and there is no meaning [the prime minister] he has every debt. ”
Hats is regarded as an unassuming person and, although he had been in politics for many years, never appeared. Nor did selfishness and prestige mean his career, unlike his predecessors or politicians, Thomas says.
The role of the foreign minister, which includes his involvement in local government and Maori activities, also surprised Mahuta.
Although he had previously worked in importing and exporting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government, Mahuta was focusing on domestic affairs such as the Minister of State for Maori and Maori Development.
Mr Thomas says the former foreign ministers are “talking nonsense” about human rights, but have been known to not just talk about their business partners, especially since the country’s biggest deal with China in 2006.
Humps have made waves around the world taking them to Australia, Canada, Britain, and the United States to condemning the inequalities of anti-democratic politicians in Hong Kong and inquire about the Beijing invasion of a region that was given a lot of freedom and independence during their return to China in 1997.
He also condemned the arrest of Alexey Navalny’s opposition leader in Russia as well suspended bilateral relations with Myanmar in response to the military’s actions on February 1, saying that New Zealand “does not recognize the legitimacy of the military-led government”.
But last month, Mahuta’s comments on the “Five Eyes” smart talk show drew attention to this. They would not allow a US-led treaty to rule Relations between New Zealand and China.
Although he acknowledged that China and New Zealand could be at loggerheads, he said in April at the New Zealand China Council that the country should “respect” one of its trading partners.
“There will be some areas where it is necessary to connect through the Five Eyes platform; but there will be other areas – such as human rights – where we want to establish an international alliance to participate in their interests, “he told Al Jazeera.
“[A]Sometimes we work with a large group; sometimes we connect with one or two other friends who have similar ideas; and sometimes we speak for ourselves. ”
Fellow Labor politician Paul Eagle went to the University of Mahuta where he is studying for a master’s degree in anthropology for development and business development in Māori. They are brothers and all come from the same tribe, Tainui.
The Eagle observes that Mahuta is always taking part in public discussions and that his ability to endure conflict and maintain relationships is essential to his success.
“What you see is what you get,” he said. “People often make fun of him, but he is very smart and smart. He is real.
“While other politicians have come and gone, Nanaia has faced many hurricanes and has been able to raise people to achieve this.”
Experts say Mahuta’s background in Maori could also help him as a foreign minister.
He likes to argue with the weak party – be it on Permanent partnership with Waitangi, or to represent the Maori organization – a minority in the ruling Labor party, and they strengthened their negotiating power.
“Everything that was achieved must have been done through negotiations and they do not have the glorious splendor of the past, which has promised to bring peace to the Middle East and to the Pacific,” Thomas said.
“One of the most recognizable things in New Zealand is their relationship and their lack of self-control. All things being equal and outside of the symbols, I think it is a privilege to have a Mori woman who represents the country all over the world. ”
There is no compromise
Hutu says he did not expect to get such a good reputation soon but was “glad” to get the job.
“If I can provide anything, I can use cultural foundations to influence foreign policy,” he said. “I look forward to enhancing these relationships for the sake of unity and development for future generations.
“We are privileged as a small and growing country to show how our journey to a cohesive country is shaped by the Treaty. [of Waitangi] interviews and experiences. Much of our history is rooted in conflict and each gains have been hit hard and excessively. I think we can offer this journey and learn from it – not as an answer but as a change. ”
They give Maori language revival as an example.
Where New Zealand once tried to eradicate the language, and comparison is considered the best option, Moriori language is now established in schools and public institutions and is a well-known part of New Zealand, he says.
The Maori were only granted the right to vote in 1879.
In the current Parliament, 15 out of 120 representatives – known as the “First 15” – are Maori, and the House is more diverse than before, they say.
In his role as prime minister, Mahuta also wants to promote Maori’s representation in councils, and his policy of “Maori ward” in which the government will support municipalities seeking to hold Maori protests, repealing a law that allows such elections to be held in a referendum.
“Having a Maori exhibition where their voices and ideas can be articulated has now spread to the local government and civil society,” Mahuta said. “Maori’s representation has made it possible for people to be inclusive.”
Ruahina Albert is the chief of Waikato Women Refuge.
He first met Huttas 30 years ago when the refuge was a private dormitory in Hamilton, a city on the North Island of New Zealand.
“When he came to meet us in the 90s we didn’t know who he was, but we were impressed by how kind, helpful and handsome he was,” Albert said.
Twenty-five ministers over the age of 36 visited the site but Mahuta has been one of the most helpful, he said.
Mahuta had been a member of the committee for three years before becoming a minister, and Albert hopes to return when he leaves Parliament.
“We work in the face of sexual violence and domestic violence. We are a strong team and it did not go far enough. We do not trust in the government but in him.
“I believe his heart is with his people and his community, he doesn’t know what to do and what not to do. You always have conflicts when you work but I don’t see him deceiving his people or his country. It’s his heart and his future.”