Waatea News Column: Minister Nanaia Mahuta charts brave new chapter for NZ Foreign Affairs


Nanaia Mahuta’s move from Māori Development Minister to Foreign Affairs was initially perceived as an acknowledgment of the rising political muscle of urban Māori that Willie Jackson’s appointment represents, but Nanaia has found a style that transforms NZs Foreign Affairs and leads with real mana that is increasingly looking urgently needed.

Take the current diplomatic stoush between China and the 5 Eyes. China is becoming increasingly sensitive to the barrage of criticism directed at them for the appalling human rights abuses of the Uyghur people.

While America and Australia heap vitriol upon China (which serves to only outrage them more), Nanaia has instead focused solely on the solution of having independent UN observers in the region.

China’s response to NZ so far has been a lot more muted than its anger at Australia and part of that I put down to the success of Nanaia. Her decency and moral leadership minus the name-calling marks her out as an incredibly important diplomatic tool at a time when geopolitics are stressed.

These geopolitical stresses in the South Pacific and Nanaia’s ability to navigate them marks a very different value within Foreign Affairs, a uniquely Māori worldview that goes beyond the old win/lose dichotomy and breaths a very different kind of leadership.

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They are strengths that will be sorely tested this year as conflict builds between America and China.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Unless one has spent considerable time in the region and carried out scrupulous research, one does not know what is happening to Uyghurs or why.

    The US has a very long and very well documented history of lying and generating deliberately misleading propaganda based on complete fabrications.

    The Chinese government lies when it thinks it is necessary or advantageous.

    I tend to favour Chinese reports over incidents and policies versus US reports in a ratio of about 60% versus 40%, i.e. 60% truth and 40% lies on behalf of the Chinese versus 40% and 60% lies on behalf of the Americans.

    We certainly know which are the greater bullies. And we know which will prevail in the medium term -not basket-case America, with its run down education system, its rundown infrastructure, its privatised health systems and its casino-like hyper-inflated financial markets.

    In the short term NZ needs to tread very carefully at this time of global economic, social and environmental upheaval.

    But in the long term it will make no difference because the US has already sabotaged the future of the world via its refusal to address carbon dioxide emissions and its continued pursuit of consumerism, which, sadly, China has attempted to emulate.

  2. We cannot save everyone Tuibelle we are but a small nation of five million and we have many troubles ourselves. Good foreign diplomacy is all about respect.

      • Did we even object when Israel slaughtered / murdered 1,462 civilians during ” operation protective edge” ,,, a piss take of a name when we consider they predominantly killed civilians ,,,, the IDF killed more woman and children than opposing fighters ..

        “Of the Palestinian fatalities, 551 were children and 299 women.[2]

        11,231 Palestinians were injured including 3,436 children and 3,540 women, 10 percent of whom suffer permanent disability.[3]

        More than 1,500 Palestinian children were orphaned.[4]

        142 Palestinian families had three or more members killed in the same incident, for a total of 742 fatalities.[5]

        18,000 housing units were destroyed in whole or part

        142 Palestinian families had three or more members killed in the same incident, for a total of 742 fatalities.[5];

        Considering the most moral army’ in the world had an official policy of using Palestinian children and civilians as human shields for Israel soldiers,,,, the lack of concern or care Israel has for Palastinians produced predictable results.
        Note how gaby below obviously thinks of Gaza civilians as terrorists ,,, who “get what they deserve”.

        It would appear gaby has a worse attitude towards children than jeffry epstein ,,,,

        And he’s less honest than Harvey Weinstein ,,,,

        Perhaps he’s a religious man ‘Israeli Ambassador Claims ‘Biblical Rights’ to West Bank https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_EbPLCsPr0

          • Bibi is a joke at this point. Lashing out at shadows. Punching in all directions. Israel is literally in a state of perpetual war against itself. It’s literally retardation. Now shut the fuck up dweeb.

  3. Yes she has a nice style, and a different take on some things, but, her dept. is notoriously full of fifth columnists and die hard fans of US Imperialism. So given the general world view of the Labour Caucus, don’t expect too much independent foreign policy from her.

    If she ever makes a detailed statement on Palestinian rights it will be interesting. The Israeli propaganda campaign–that any criticism of Israeli State/Military equals anti semitism–has worked very well to intimidate academics and politicians around the world.

  4. If Nanaia Mahuta is not already acquainted with the success of Cuba in fighting off American imperialism and providing superb healthcare for its own citizens and citizens of other countries, perhaps she could start here, a must-read article demonstrating that far from being backward, impoverished peasants, Cubans are now world leaders in several fields, including the battle against Covid-19 or its mutations.

    This key sentence sums up the abject failure of neoliberalism:

    ‘What Cuba has achieved is remarkable, but as Caballero states: ‘without the unjust US blockade, Cuba could have more and better results’. Cuba has become a world-leader in biotechnology because it has a socialist state with a centrally planned economy, that has invested in science and technology and puts human welfare before profit; that is, with the absence of capitalism and greed that British Prime Minister Johnson celebrates.’

    Human welfare before profit!

    I know, the looters-and-polluters-and-exploit-the-masses of the neoliberal club won’t have a bar of that.

    ‘The five Cuban vaccines under clinical trials are all protein vaccines; they carry the portion of the virus spike protein which binds to human cells; it generates neutralising antibodies to block the binding process. Dr Marlene Ramirez Gonzalez explains that they are, ‘subunit vaccines, one of the most economical approaches and the type for which Cuba has the greatest know-how and infrastructure. From protein S – the antigen or part of the SARS-CoV2 virus that all Covid vaccines target because it induces the strongest immune response in humans – Cuban candidates are based only on the part that is involved in contact with the cell’s receptor: the RBD (receptor-binding domain) which is also the one that induces the greatest amount of neutralizing antibodies. This strategy is not exclusive to Cuban vaccines. But Soberana 02 does distinguish itself from the rest of the world’s candidates as the only “conjugate vaccine”. Currently in phase III clinical trials, it combines RBD with tetanus toxoid, which enhances the immune response…Cuba had already developed another vaccine with this principle. It is Quimi-Hib, “the first of its kind to be approved in Latin America and the second in the world”, against Haemophilus influenzae type b, coccobacilli responsible for diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and epiglottitis.’[1]’

    ‘A vaccine for the global south

    Cuban professionals have received ten gold medals from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) over 26 years; their biotech products were exported to 49 countries prior to the pandemic, including vaccines used in childhood immunisation programmes in Latin America. Cuba has stated that its Covid-19 vaccines will be exported to other countries. This brings hope to low- and middle-income nations that simply cannot afford to vaccinate their populations at high prices (between $10 and $30 per dose) demanded by big pharma. In February 2021, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that US company Pfizer has been ‘bullying’ Latin American countries into putting up sovereign assets, such as embassy buildings and military bases, as guarantees against the cost of any future legal cases in relation to their Covid-19 vaccines.[3]’


  5. …”Nanaia has found a style that transforms NZs Foreign Affairs and leads with real mana that is increasingly looking urgently needed”…


    There was always something about that woman that I picked as a genuine leader. Some said she was too quiet, too ‘behind the scenes’. They also said she was ‘ busy with child’.


    She is a natural born , quiet and facilitating leader. And now she has come to the fore as a real leader befitting her position. If we had more like Nanaia Mahuta, this world wouldn’t be in such the mess it is now.

    I can see her as an effective and caring Prime Minister , better even than Adern without the Blairite bullshit.

    A REAL leader.

    And she deserves some music.

    Native American Traditional Cree Music

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