Priyanca Radhakrishnan is a New Zealander politician. She came to recognition in November 2020 after becoming the first-ever Indian origin New Zealand Minister.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan was born in 1979 (age 41 years; as of 2020) in Chennai, India. She did her schooling from Singapore before moving to New Zealand in 2004 to complete her higher education. She holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from Victoria University of Wellington. After completing her graduation, she joined the New Zealand Labour Party in 2006 and climbed up the political ladder to become the first-ever Indian origin Kiwi Minister in 2020.
Priyanca was born into a Malayali family to Raman Radhakrishnan (father) and Usha Radhakrishnan (mother). Her maternal great-grandfather, Dr. C R Krishna Pillai, was a medical practitioner and a popular Communist leader in Kochi. Her sister, Manavi, is settled in Canada. In 2010, Priyanca got married to an IT professional, Ivan Richardson, with whom she lives in Auckland.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan joined the New Zealand Labour Party in 2006. For a long time, she contributed to the party work from the process of the internal policy development to campaigning for the party before elections. Before every general election in New Zealand, political parties release a list of their candidates with their party rankings. Before the 2014 New Zealand General Election, Priyanca bagged 23rd rank on the Labour Party’s list (highest by a newcomer). Her ranking saw a significant improvement in three years as she was ranked 13th on the Labour Party’s list released before the 2017 general elections. She contested and lost the 2017 general election; however, she entered the New Zealand parliament on the basis of Labour Party’s members’ list. She served as the Member of New Zealand Parliament from Auckland from 2017 to 2020. She contested and lost in the 2020 General Election of New Zealand, however this time again, she made it to the parliament on Labour Party’s list. On 2 November 2020, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Cabinet appointed Priyanca as the 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 November 2017, she was robbed by a person while she was shopping in a supermarket in Auckland.
- A firm supporter of animal welfare rights, Radhakrishnan has done valuable work to ensure dog-friendly spaces. She also owns two adopted female dogs.
- Despite living in a Kiwi culture, Priyanka has not forgotten her roots; she still celebrates Indian festivals in New Zealand.
- Apart from that, she is also a fan of Carnatic music, a music system associated with South-India. Her favourite singer is also a South Indian classical musician, K J Yesudas.
- Priyanca Radhakrishnan is a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, National Council of Women (Auckland), and UN Women.