biographical data

Nanaia Mahuta biography: 13 things about New Zealand’s 1st female foreign minister

Nanaia Cybelle Mahuta is a Maori politician from Auckland, New Zealand. She belongs to the Labour Party and is married to William Gannin Ormsby, who has four children from a previous relationship.

Mahuta and Ormsby have a son named Waiwaia Nukutawhiti Mahuta and a daughter named Niua-Cybelle Mahuta. Here are 13 more facts about Nanaia:


  1. She was born in Auckland to Robert Te Kotahitanga Mahuta and Eliza Raiha Edmonds. Born in Maniapoto, Te Kuiti, New Zealand, Robert was adopted by King Korokī, who is his mother’s first cousin. Edmonds grew upon a small farm at Karetu, New Zealand.
  2. She has an older brother named Tukaroto Mahuta and a younger sister named Tipa Mahuta. The late Maori queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangi Kaahu is their aunt.
  3. She attended Hamilton West School in Hamilton, New Zealand, Kura Kaupapa Rakaumanga school in Huntly, New Zealand and Waikato Diocesan School for Girls in Hamilton, New Zealand, where she boarded for five years.
  4. She did seven intermediate law papers at the University of Waikato in Hamilton but passed only four of them. She was told that she had too many relatives there for her to be able to focus on her studies, she revealed to E-Tangata.
  5. She earned a diploma in Māori business development and a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social anthropology from the University of Auckland, where she also worked as a part-time research assistant and part-time librarian.
  6. She started her political career in 1996 when she was elected to parliament a list MP, a member of parliament elected from a party list rather than from a geographical constituency.
  7. From 1999 to 2002, she was a member of the New Zealand Parliament for Te Tai Hauāuru.
  8. From 2002 to 2008, she was a member of the New Zealand Parliament for Tainui. In 2008, she gave birth prematurely to her first son Ormsby Mahuta, who lived for only one hour.
  9. Appointed by New Zealand’s 37th prime minister Helen Clark, she served as the Minister of Local Government from October 19, 2005 to November 24, 2008. In 2008, she became a member of the New Zealand Parliament for Hauraki-Waikato and was reelected in 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2020.She gave birth to Waiwaia in 2009.
  10. In 2014, she ran for the Labour Party leadership but lost to Andrew Little. In December 2014, she gave birth to Niua-Cybele by Caesarean section.
  11. In 2016, her daughter convinced her to get a moko kauae, a traditional female Maori tattoo on the chin. She was the first female member of parliament in New Zealand to display the Maori tattoo, which is a tribute to her ancestors and a statement to reduce the stigma that associates Maoris with crime and gangs.
  12. On October 26, 2017, she was appointed as the Minister of Local Government by New Zealand’s 40th prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who was reelected for a second term on October 17, 2020.
  13. In February 2020, she and Australian Minister for Indigenous Ken Wyatt signed a collaboration agreement on indigenous issues. On November 2, 2020, Ardern announced her appointment as foreign minister, making her the first woman in the country to hold the position. She was 50 years old when she assumed office on November 6, 2020.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.