Cynthia Cindy Kiro will be New Zealand’s next governor general, the country’s prime minister announced on Monday.
The 62-year-old will be the first Maori woman to hold the post when she takes over from Patsy Reddy, who ends her five-year term in September.
The Governor General of New Zealand is the vice-regal 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 in a ceremony on October 21, according to a Radio New Zealand report.
“I look forward to working with her,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference in Wellington, where she was joined by Kiro.
She said that Kiro, who served as the country’s children’s commissioner from 2003 to 2009, “demonstrated his passion for the well-being of children and young people, as well as for education and learning”.
“I know she will bring the same commitment to all New Zealanders as Governor General,” added the Prime Minister.
Kiro holds a doctorate in social policy and an MBA in business administration.
During her academic career, she was an associate professor and director of the School of Public Health at Massey University.
Kiro told the press conference that she was “proudly Maori and I am also part British”.
“So, with this unique marriage, I bring an understanding of the fundamental basis of Te Tiriti o Waitangi [Treaty of Waitangi] and its place in our history, ”she said.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840 by representatives of the British monarchy and indigenous Maori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand.
Kiro said she took the post with a “tremendous sense of gratitude and humility” and considered it a “great honor”.
“This notion of service is really at the heart of everything I have done in the past. It has been a career of service, especially for children and young people, but especially for those who do not have a voice to speak for themselves, ”she added.
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