An unprecedented year has driven an extraordinary election result.
Under Jacinda Ardern's stewardship, the Labour Party is pushing into the unknown with a historic milestone.
After winning a second term with a massive 49 per cent of the vote, and a 64-seat mandate, the Government now faces the challenge of living up to it.
Labour has never won more than 60 seats and occupied the centre of New Zealand politics as emphatically as it is now.
In the MMP era, Helen Clark took the party to a 52-seat victory in 2002. National's John Key had 60 in 2014.
In Ardern, Labour has a leader who is only 40, and who already has an international profile beyond what most New Zealand prime ministers have ever had.
Partly it is due to circumstance with three major disasters – the pandemic, Christchurch shooting and volcano eruption – occurring in her first term. When handled well, adversity can forge a bond between a leader and community like nothing else.
The Prime Minister is also in sync with now: A top communicator at ease with people and social media; generally popular at home; aware of talking to an audience beyond the country, and a female leader in global politics.
It all creates a certain tension going forward.
Ardern could potentially achieve a lot more with her x-factor and influence. But she could also run the risk of it all eventually seeming hollow if the rhetoric and personal appeal is not regularly backed up with substance and achievements.
As a government Labour has the chance to build a distinctive legacy and improve voters' lives while bringing the country out of recession.
Or it could concentrate on managing in a less ambitious way, to keep middle New Zealand onside and be the "natural party of government".
The first way risks controversy and hard choices, as it is impossible to reconcile all competing interests. The second way could result in policy inertia and disappointment.
There were hints of both strands in Ardern's election night speech.
She referred to party policy goals and accelerating the government's approach to the economic recovery, which implied some urgency to get under way again after the election campaign.
However, her main message was to promise that Labour would govern for all New Zealanders and she talked up the need to see others' views in an "increasingly polarised world".
That appeared to reach for the pre-campaign figurehead role the Prime Minister occupied after the coronavirus outbreak occurred.
The rise in the third-party vote for Act (8 per cent) and the Greens (7.6 per cent) is probably a message that a section of voters would like to see new policy ideas and plans in the mix.
National, with 27 per cent of the vote and 35 seats, appears set on the cycle of introspection and regeneration Labour went through during the Key years. And NZ First came face to face with a no-entry sign.
Overall, the election showed the electorate to be nearly 60 per cent centre-left. Just how much of it is centre and how much is left is something we will find out.