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New Zealand’s Mahuta brings new outlook to foreign affairs

The Associated Press

2020-11-26 19:03:44

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Diplomats like to remain neutral but Nanaia Mahuta let the veil slip a little when a winner was declared in the U.S. election by tweeting a smiley-face emoji.

Mahuta, the first indigenous Maori woman to be appointed New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister, suppresses a real-life smile when asked about it.

“Look, what I can say is that there were encouraging signs in those speeches,” she said in an interview with the The Associated Press. She said the victory speech by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was “inspirational to many women around the world.”

Mahuta, 50, was a surprise pick for the role, despite being a respected performer in Parliament for almost half her life, since she was first elected in 1996 at age 26. She is part of the most diverse group of lawmakers ever appointed to the top roles in Cabinet after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term in a landslide victory last month.

Mahuta said she felt joyous at being chosen and promised to bring a new perspe

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