Social justice advocate Dame Cindy Kiro was sworn in Thursday as New Zealand's governor-general, becoming the first Maori woman to hold the largely ceremonial role.
As governor-general, she will act as the representative in New Zealand of the head of state Queen Elizabeth II.
"We are living in a period of immense uncertainty and anxiety," she said at a ceremony in parliament.
"I will reach out to communities marginalised in our society, whether because of disability, homelessness, discrimination addiction or mental health issues."
Kiro said she also planned to reach out to migrants, refugees and "the unsung heroes in our community".
The 63-year-old, whose mother was Maori and father English, said she was proud to be bringing her dual heritage to the post.
The governor-general's role is largely ceremonial, involving swearing in lawmakers, bestowing honours and welcoming visiting dignitaries.