David Tokohau Samuels starts his new role as chief executive of Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Māori Development.
The Waikato-Tainui and Whakatōhea descendant was the former deputy director general for China Relations for the Ministry of Primary Industries, based at the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing.
He was also the former director of policy at Te Puni Kōkiri.
Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Mr Samuels understood Māori aspirations, the public sector and te ao Māori.
"Our Government is committed to addressing the inequalities experienced by whānau Māori - we are committed to creating the right conditions for Māori to achieve their social and economic development aspirations - we are committed to Māori Development. We rely upon a strong and focused Te Puni Kōkiri to get us there.
"This leadership role comes with great expectations and anticipation for influencing whānau wellbeing - whānau taurikura - outcomes across government.
"In leading the Ministry, Dave Samuels will bring an international perspective from working on trade issues for the Ministry for Primary Industries in the Middle East and China for the past five years. "
David Tokohau Samuels will replace Michelle Hippolite, who announced her resignation in July.