An Auckland University law lecturer, Valmaine Toki, has been appointed to the United Nations permanent forum on indigenous issues for 2011 to 2013.
Eight members of the forum are elected by the UN's Economic and Social Council from candidates nominated by governments, and eight - including Ms Toki this time - are nominated by indigenous people's organisations.
The appointment comes just weeks after New Zealand finally affirmed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Ms Toki, from Nga Puhi, Ngati Wai and Ngati Rehua, teaches contemporary Treaty and Maori issues; she previously worked for Te Ohu Kai Moana on Maori fisheries, aquaculture and asset allocation issues.
Fellow lawyer Moana Jackson, who served on the committee writing the declaration, says that it's great to see a Maori in such a senior position, and that Ms Toki should be given tautoko and support.