‘Creatives say things politicians are too afraid to speak about’ – Nanaia Mahuta, New Zealand Foreign Minister

DUBAI, 19 November 2021 –Creative people often talk about subjects that politician are “too afraid” to address, Her Excellency Nanaia Mahuta, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, told delegates during a forum on gender equality held today at the Expo 2020 Women’s Pavilion.

HE Mahuta said: “You know, I take inspiration from the creativity, because the creatives actually say things that politicians are too afraid to say, and they will tell the stories, sing the songs, evoke the emotions… that either make you feel really sad, really happy, really angry or something like that. When they do that, it causes you to step outside politics and reflect on what is really important.”

“And it’s like (the late American poet and rights activist) Maya Angelou, she said: ‘People will forget what you say, people will forget what you did. But they will always remember how you made them feel.’ There’s something so powerful in that because…there’s something genuine and sincere about that,that we could easily lose as we’ve become too disconnected and as I say, now more than ever before. We need one’s leadership, we needed in a way that only we can lift each other up and mean to lift us up,” she added.

The hour-long forum was moderated by Hind Al Owais, Vice President of International Engagement, at Expo 2020 Dubai.

HE Mahuta gained international recognition for being the first woman to hold her country’s Foreign Affairs portfolio.

She admitted there are challenges ahead for her “but I’m focused on ensuring that our relationship to the Indo-Pacific is an important relationship that enables New Zealand to be a trusted partner.”

In the area of gender equality, HE Mahuta said: “There are a number of challenges in relation to gender equality and each country will make decisions according to their own context. In New Zealand, our focus toward the Pacific is to support empowerment (as well as) sexual and reproductive health…it is also around the area of violence against women… those are just some of the areas where we’re working on an action plan for, and in a bilateral level.”

On the issue of women caught in the struggle against inequality, HE Matuta said: “This is a struggle for all of us in that we need to ensure that, by working together, we can bring light to the challenge of a range of inequalities that women are facing.

“And we can strengthen each other’s approach by sharing our own experience. In New Zealand’s committees, (we are) working toward an action plan to address the issues of gender equality.”