Priyanca Radhakrishnan from Kerala is in the limelight now. She has now got the distinction of becoming the first-ever Indian-origin minister in New Zealand’. She was one among the five new ministers inducted into her executive by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardem.
Priyanca went to New Zealand as part of education and then became part of the country. She was greatly involved with the women survivors of domestic violence and also migrants. She was the lonely voice of these unheard women.
In 2017, Priyanca was elected as Member of Parliament as a candidate of the Labour Party. After two years, she became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities. It was this post that helped her to build a ground for her new role as Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities.
Born in Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, she is the daughter of Paravoor Madavanaparambu Raman Radhakrishnan and Usha. Despite having family roots in Paravoor in Kerala, she spent her childhood in Chennai.
Before moving to New Zealand, she grew up in Singapore. She studied at the University of Wellington and got her master’s degree in Development Studies. She enrolled in New Zealand Labour Party in 2006. She worked on the internal party policy development process and was active in both local and regional party organisation.
In her first election in 2016, she contested as Labour’s candidate for the electorate of Maungakiekie. However, she lost the polls but entered parliament from the party list. Later in 2019, Priyanca became the Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs. In the 2020 elections, she could not win. Once again she entered the parliament in party list and now chosen for ministership.
For Priyanca, politics is related to choices. The 41 year old politician believes that decision making should be community led. For her, decision making should also lead to better outcomes for every person and not just the privileged few. She also believes that there should not be any differentiation of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status and sexuality. She feels that everyone should have equal rights and also have the opportunity to live with dignity. She now lives in Auckland with her husband, who works in the IT.