The sudden death of his mother a month before the election was a reality that Coromandel Labour candidate Nathaniel Blomfield had to quietly soldier through while on the campaign trail.
Mum Janet died after the election date changed because of Covid-19, which meant Nathaniel had little time to mourn while in the election campaigning period. He and other Labour hopefuls he knows of had no work leave left because of the date change, and some, no work altogether, but were still determined to win the votes.
"I had to prioritise, instead of spending the last two weeks before the election campaigning, I only had enough leave to do the specific meet the candidates meetings and no other days for campaigning," he says.
When his family received the full picture of his mum's liver cancer diagnosis on August 30, only to lose her the very next day, three days shy of her 64th birthday, he took a break from social media and phonecalls.
He's grateful to voters who helped him close the gap on incumbent MP Scott Simpson, whose margin dropped from a 14,000 majority to 4000.
But Blomfield expects to have to continue working hard to build his profile in the party.
"There's been such a red wave that almost every electorate has had a good result across the board. At the last election in 2017 we doubled the party vote for Labour...but this time everyone has done so well.
"But I'll work on that name recognition and that will build on my profile for the next election."
He is seriously considering a move into local politics.
The next opportunity will be in 2022 for Thames-Coromandel District Council's South East Ward and Tairua-Pauanui Community Board.
The existing board and ward is decidedly 65-plus male, with one female sitting beside three men on the community board and six of the eight councillors at TCDC male, not including mayor Sandra Goudie.
New Zealand's election results are making news worldwide for its most diverse Parliament: 40 new MPs include our first African, Latin American and Sri Lankan and voices from the LGBT community.
Even so, a glance at the profiles show how many lawyers and doctors will be in Parliament for the next term.
Nathaniel's experience in the hospital system was as a Thames Hospital orderly, which he did from the age of 16, helping his father who led the team there.
"My job was to do the laundry runs, the rubbish runs and the heavy lifts. I worked in the long stay ward and would toilet the old guys with strokes, and the amputees. I worked on Sundays, and would take the old boys to the toilets and help them shave.
"That was my weekend job, but I was also on the reliever's list so if guys were off sick I would take the day off school to make money if Dad was short staffed."
It's a reality of politics, he says, that some people will do a better job of campaigning than others, and those with jobs in law and broadcasting almost certainly present better than a former hospital orderly, gib stopper, chef and landscaper, which is what he does now.
Parliament has its most diverse representation ever, but it's still not an equal playing field.
"There are a lot of doctors and lawyers, even within the Green Party they're all lawyers. They got there because they're really good at arguing their points and, yes, they are doing a good job representing good causes.
"But what ends up happening is the people that run for these positions are the ones that can afford to.
what ends up happening is the people that run for these positions are the ones that can afford to.
"So you end up with a certain demographic in the community, not validly representative of the real community."
Nathaniel is still involved in the party membership structure, and is chairman of the local electorate committee, which gives him input on policy into the next election. He's on the Rural Affairs Sector Committee with a focus on rural health, agriculture and horticulture and fisheries in the rural affairs sector.
He voluntarily works alongside list MP Jan Tinetti, setting up appointments on the Coromandel for her two days every five weeks when she comes to the electorate to hear issues.
He believes the biggest concern for the electorate is housing, with a lack of seasonal worker accommodation restricting businesses "especially in towns like Tairua [and]
the eastern seaboard generally."
"A lady rang me in tears the other day because she has to leave her rental accommodation and couldn't find anything."
Nathaniel once owned Shells Restaurant in Tairua and would let employees live in with him just to keep staff. When wife-to-be Mel came along and children followed, this had to change.
He says if people wish to bring constituency issues directly to the Labour Government, their concerns will be picked up via an email inbox.
"Jan Tinetti will represent this area within Government as the List MP covering this area, so we can get issues to her," he says.
MP Scott Simpson holds the electorate so has an electorate office and is always available to contact, but sits in opposition.
• To get in touch with Labour about any local issue, email firstname.lastname@example.org.