Jacinda Ardern's choice of Nanaia Mahuta as New Zealand's new Foreign Minister has ensured quick brand recognition for the moko-wearing politician in the world's capitals.
Mahuta has been catapulted from a mid-ranking New Zealand Cabinet Minister who has done the hard yards without seeking huge public recognition, to one of the most influential roles in the Ardern ministry.
Much coverage focused on Ardern's decision to appoint — as the Times put it — a "female foreign minister who has a prominent Māori tattoo on her face".
But Mahuta is a woman of many firsts. First to be appointed Minister for Māori Development and the first Cabinet Minister to wear a moko kauae. She hopes her appointment will act as a trailblazer for other women of Māori descent in NZ.
Mahuta will bring a different flavour to New Zealand's external relations. She steps into former NZ First leader Winston Peters' shoes in the Foreign Affairs portfolio.
Peters is a well-known quantity offshore. He is possessed of deep diplomatic skills and has played a significant role in leading the Pacific reset, strengthening relations with the White House and taking a more direct approach to NZ's relationship with China.
Mahuta is taking up her ministerial warrant at a time which will call for great dexterity. As former NZ High Commissioner to Canberra Chris Seed put it in 2018, "never before have the United States, China, Japan and India been major regional powers simultaneously. New organising constructs such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific are emerging to reflect those realities.
"Against this background, the risks for small countries with global interests are acute, and in sands such as these, strong foundations are needed."
Seed is now chief executive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which will wrap itself around their new minister.
The Prime Minister will also take a much bigger role on the international stage in this parliamentary term.
Next year Ardern will host the Apec Leaders Meeting in New Zealand. It is to be a virtual affair.
It's fair to say that Ardern's own celebrity and deepening international experience make her the country's foremost diplomat.
Her empathetic leadership through major crises like the Christchurch terrorist attack, the White island volcanic disaster and (ultimately) sure-footed approach to the Covid-19 pandemic in this country have secured her that international recognition.
With Peters now out of her Administration, she will not shirk from taking a hands-on role when the issues are of sufficient international importance. Particularly, those key relationships that Ardern wants to foster such as closer ties with the incoming US Administration, ultimately paving the way for a visit to the White House and the business missions she plans to China, the UK and Europe once the Covid-19 border barrier is lifted.
But it is in the hosting of Apec that both Ardern and Mahuta will be tested.
Later this month, Asia-Pacific leaders will be hosted in a virtual summit by Malaysia.
Sustaining that momentum into late 2021 and beyond will require skilful leadership.
The impact of Covid-19 means there will be little international travel for the new minister. Mahuta has to some degree hidden her talents.
Her work on water reforms has demonstrated a capacity for deep thought and the ability to fashion consensus among disparate local bodies.
She is a former Associate Trade and Export Growth Minister and as Minister for Māori Development, forged a collaboration agreement with Australia's Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, to deepen the transtasman working relationship on indigenous issues.
There has been some dismissive comment on Mahuta's appointment, suggesting that an indigenous woman has taken the place of the white middle-aged men who have typically held the portfolio in this country.
Think National's Murray McCully and Labour's Phil Goff. Further back, Sir Don McKinnon, whose track record was stellar and paved the way for his appointment as Commonwealth Secretary-General.
Certainly, there was a wide expectation among political journalists that Ardern would pick former Labour leader Andrew Little for the role.
But Little would not have had the cachet that a moko-wearing Foreign Minister has.
Mahuta is not the only moko-wearing female Māori politician in Parliament. She will be joined by Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, co-leader of the Māori Party, and leader and chief executive of the Ngāti Ruanui iwi, who made it into Parliament yesterday after special votes were counted.
These proud Māori women are now at the forefront of New Zealand's future.