Malaysia's Gayathri Paranisamy has been elected the president of the United Nations Association New Zealand (UNANZ) - the first Malaysian to ever hold the post.

The Vibes spoke to the Johorean lass, who moved to New Zealand five years ago to help with rebuilding efforts after the Christchurch earthquake.

"My plan is to collaborate with private organisations and work on promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. I would also like to work with the younger generation and on climate change and equality.

"Last but not least, I would like to like with the ingenous Maori people in promoting SDGs and addressing UN-related indigenous issues," she was quoted telling the portal.

To the uninitiated, UNANZ is the people's movement for the United Nations in New Zealand, and SDGs are a blueprint set by the UN to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

A quantity surveyor by profession, Gayathri has been involved with UNANZ for at least three out of the five years she has been in New Zealand. She previously served as the association's vice-president.

When she moved to assist with earthquake rebuilding efforts in Christchurch, she was employed as a cost manager for Beca Ltd in Wellington.

As a member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Gayathri also won a “Highly Commended Award” for Rising Star category in the year 2019.

At first, Gayathri was hesitant to take up the UNANZ president post when approached by her mentor cum predecessor Peter Nichols, as she thought she was "not experienced enough", but relented after he offered to mentor her for two years.

She will lead UNANZ for two to four years.

Gayathri attributes being born and bred in Malaysia to shaping her into what she is today.

"Since we are promoting the engagement and understanding of the UN, an international entity, being a Malaysian and president of a civil society entity in New Zealand reflects who we are as a people, our ability, our values, and culture," she was quoted saying, adding that she has always been proud and comfortable in her own skin.

Gayathri also attributed the support from her family for her election.

Congratulations Gayathri. Her story is a cause for celebration for women, especially in conjunction with International Women's Day today, as well as all Malaysians, and Indians!

Source & Photo source: The Vibes