Indian origin Priyanca Radhakrishnan (41) years has created history by becoming the first-ever Indian Minister in New Zealand. On Monday (November 2) Priyanca is appointed as Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Minister for Youth, and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment in Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s Cabinet. She is serving as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 2017 onwards, representing the New Zealand Labour Party. Priyanca belongs to Paravoor in Eranakulam District in Kerala. She was born in Chennai in 1979 and moved to Singapore with her family before reaching New Zealand in 2004 for a post-graduation course in development studies.
She lives in Auckland with her husband Richardson, an IT employee from Christchurch. She had served as the private secretary to Jenny Salesa, former minister of ethnic communities. Her grandfather Dr. C R Krishna Pillai was a well-known medical practitioner and Communist leader in Kochi and actively involved in Kerala unification struggles in the early 1950s. Priyanca is the daughter of Raman Radhakrishnan and Usha. Even though she has her roots in Paravoor, most of her relatives are based in Chennai – where she was born. She grew up in Singapore and later moved to New Zealand to pursue her master’s degree in development studies from Victoria University of Wellington.
In a recent interview, Priyanca spoke about her passion for Carnatic music and about her favourite singer K J Yesudas. She was active in COVID-19 rehabilitation operations in New Zealand. “I was born into a Malayali family. I spoke only Malayalam till I went to school. Although I grew up in Singapore, I visited India every year to spend my school holidays with my grandparents and extended family in Chennai, visiting Kerala often. I still have family in Ernakulam and Ottapalam. My maternal great grandfather, Dr. C. R. Krishna Pillai, was a medical doctor, who was the Secretary of the Transport Workers Union. He was involved in left-wing politics in India and was part of the Aikya Keralam movement that was instrumental in the formation of the state of Kerala. He was also an author. One of the earliest travelogues for children in Malayalam was written by him in the form of letters to his granddaughter (my mother), and it was about his visit to the Soviet Union,” she said in a recent detailed interview with ‘The Week’ Magazine. Her full interview on various issues can be read here.
Priyanca recently visited Hyderabad in January 2020, to represent New Zealand in connection with Telangana Government’s IT-Hub project.
 Our best economic response to COVID-19 is a strong health response: NZ MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan – Sep 21, 2020, The Week
 Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao hardsells T-Hub in meet with New Zealand MP – Jan 09, 2020, Indian Express
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