Key Points:

Jacinda Ardern

The first child of the 80s has reached Parliament. Jacinda Ardern was born in 1980: the same year John Lennon was shot dead in New York, the same year Goodbye Pork Pie topped the Kiwi box office, the same year Robert Mugabe was elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

At 28, Ardern is president of the International Union of Socialist Youth and was an adviser to Helen Clark before heading overseas.

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Her first stop was New York where she worked as a volunteer co-ordinator at CHIPS, a New York-based soup kitchen, making meatballs.

In London, Ardern was a senior policy advisor for the Cabinet Office before assisting Sir Ronnie Flanagan with an inquiry into policing.

- Anna Rushworth

Rajen Prasad

Rajen Prasad has clashed with MPs before. When his five-year term as Race Relations Conciliator ended in 2001, Prasad condemned the Government's underfunding of the Race Relations office.

He had his work cut out during his term. He spent months in Taranaki after the nation was rocked by the fatal police shooting of Steven Wallace, 23, a young Maori man wielding a baseball bat.

In 2000 his office disregarded political opinion to rule in favour of Labour minister Tariana Turia, who had compared the colonisation of New Zealand to the Holocaust. Prasad said the speech did not incite racial hostility.

But he also angered Maori _ the New Zealand Maori Council demanded Prasad be sacked for his criticism of a Treaty of Waitangi clause in proposed health legislation.

Now Prasad, 62, has leapfrogged many long-serving MPs to take the number 12 slot on the Labour list.

"It's a goldfish bowl, and I am the new kid on the block. There are plenty of issues to debate and discuss without attacking the person."

- Anna Rushworth

Raymond Huo

Raymond Huo _ or Highly Unique Oriental as he jokingly calls himself _ is fiercely proud of his Chinese origins.

The 44-year-old enters Parliament on the Labour list determined to use his knowledge of Chinese protocol to help bring some of that vast country's capital into our economy.

"There is a saying in China, nothing is permitted in China, but everything is possible."

And he has proved that anything is possible here, too.

At number 21 on the party list, he enters Parliament with a wealth of diverse experience.

Huo won a scholarship to study English literature and landed a Government job in Beijing.

However he then returned to his studies and completed a law degree. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1994.

Here his career changed again when he became a reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

He returned to law in Auckland and recently joined Queen City Law as a senior associate _ now he must hand in his notice.

- Anna Rushworth

Carmel Sepuloni

The 31-year-old solo mum has enjoyed a speedy rise up the Labour ranks. Officially involved with the party for only a year and a half, she enters Parliament at number 35 on the party's list.

Of Tongan, Samoan and pakeha descent, she came from a staunch Labour family and had a long interest in politics.

"I'm a young Pacific Islander born and bred in small-town New Zealand," she said. "I'll bring an energetic approach, and I want to show that we can contribute to the rest of society."

Sepuloni trained as a primary school teacher and has taught at a primary school in Samoa and worked on a literacy programme for at-risk youth.

- Alice Neville

Steven Joyce

He has been derided as one of National's "Hollow Men", but the party's backroom boy Steven Joyce has now stepped out into the light, and the reward for his years of service is likely to be the new infrastructure portfolio.

After rebuilding the National party, Joyce hopes for the chance to rebuild parts of the country.

A controversial figure, Joyce was campaign manager in National's narrow defeat in 2005 and has been the voice in John Key's ear throughout the most recent campaign.

His high listing drew a sniping rebuke from Helen Clark before the election, saying his promotion was proof of National's "new right agenda".

Founder of The RadioWorks network, Joyce, 45, was painted as a Machiavellian figure in Nicky Hager's book The Hollow Men, which revealed he had met the Exclusive Brethren and other lobby groups before the 2005 election. It was vital experience, which has paid off.

"We learned a lot of things in 2005," said Joyce. "Organisational things really _ what works and what doesn't. We knew more about how campaigns unfold, the timing and rhythm."

- Cliff Taylor

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

He cut a lonely figure before the election. Not only was he the sole Pacific Island candidate on the National list, but when veteran National politician Lockwood Smith said some Pacific seasonal workers needed to be taught how to use the toilet, it appeared his party was more unreconstructed than some had thought.

Lotu-Iiga, an Auckland City councillor, says he has forgiven Smith. "I'm not going to dwell on the battles of yesteryear. We have had Pacific Island MPs in the past, and I will not be the last Pacific Island MP in our party."

As the embodiment of National's efforts to shed its white, middle-class reputation, Samoan migrant-turned-Cambridge scholar and now MP, Lotu-Iiga is being touted as a face of the future.

At 38, he is one of National's brightest rising stars. "I'm a migrant," says Lotu-Iiga. "I grew up in South Auckland, my dad was a taxi driver, Mum was a librarian. We were working class in Mangere, but I managed to get myself educated."

- Cliff Taylor

Hekia Parata

Four years ago Hekia Parata announced she was ashamed of the National Party. That view was laid to rest last night as Parata won a National seat in Parliament on her 50th birthday.

Parata is now being tipped as an eventual Maori Affairs minister and is keen to restore what she says is a long-standing association between National and Maori.

"National has had a strong involvement with Maori," said Parata. "That `traditional' link with Labour is relatively recent. But National probably hasn't been as good at reporting its record on Maori development issues."