New Zealand names 1st Maori woman as next governor-general
Cynthia Cindy Kiro will succeed Patsy Reddy, who will complete her 5-year term in September
Cynthia Cindy Kiro will be the next governor-general of New Zealand, the country’s prime minister announced on Monday.
The 62-year-old will be the first Maori woman to hold the position when she takes over from Patsy Reddy, who will complete her five-year term in September.
The governor-general of New Zealand serves as the viceregal representative of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II.
Kiro’s appointment for a five-year term has been approved by the queen and she will take office at a ceremony on Oct. 21, according to a report by Radio New Zealand.
“I very much look forward to working with her,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a news conference in Wellington, where she was joined by Kiro.
She said Kiro, who served as the country’s children’s commissioner from 2003 to 2009, has “demonstrated her passion for the wellbeing of children and young people, as well as education and learning.”
“I know she will bring that same commitment to all New Zealanders as governor-general,” the premier added.
Kiro holds a PhD in social policy and an MBA in business administration.
During her academic career, she served as associate professor and head of Massey University’s School of Public Health.
Kiro told the news conference that she is “proudly Maori and I'm also part British.”
“So, I bring, with this unique marriage, an understanding of the foundational basis of Te Tiriti o Waitangi [Treaty of Waitangi] and its place in our history,” she said.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on Feb. 6, 1840, by representatives of the British monarchy and native Maori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand.
Kiro said she was taking the position with a “huge sense of gratitude and humility” and viewed it as a “great honor.”
“This notion of service has really gone to the heart of everything I have done in the past. It's been a career of service, especially for children and young people, but mostly for those people who don't have a voice to speak for themselves,” she added.
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