There were tears but plenty of laughter as Labour MP and former Cabinet minister Kris Faafoi signed off his parliamentary career today after 12 years in the halls of power.
In his valedictory speech Faafoi paid tribute to colleagues and friends, spoke of the difficulties of managing immigration during the pandemic, and issued a warning to those opposing reforms in public media.
But the love of his partner Mae and three young boys - George, Fred and Theo - shone through as he spoke of the moment he announced his resignation.
His son Fred texted immediately: " 'Congratulations Dad, Love you'."
"Fred, your Dad was so nervous in that moment, but you cut through all that," said Faafoi, his voice breaking with emotion.
"You reinforced that I had made the right decision."
Faafoi also shared another sign of support from his eldest son, George, after the 2017 election when he nearly didn't get back into Parliament.
"George wrote me a note the day after the 2017 election.
" 'Hard luck Dad – you still have the specials'. George was right – the special votes came through."
Last Monday Faafoi - who held the immigration, justice and broadcasting portfolios - announced his resignation, saying he had decided to leave Parliament to spend more time with his family as his youngest son started school.
On June 22 his youngest son turned 5, and he said he had made the decision when that happened he would get out of politics.
Faafoi had also faced mounting pressures across all his portfolios.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed Faafoi had actually voiced a desire to leave at the last election, but she'd asked him to stay on to lead major reform in broadcasting and immigration.
Faafoi was born in 1976 and raised in Christchurch by Tokelaun parents, a teacher and a factory worker.
He trained as a journalist and worked as a reporter in Parliament's press gallery, then as former Labour leader Phil Goff's press secretary.
"I never thought when I first walked onto this precinct as a junior journalist running errands for Duncan Garner and Mark Sainsbury that I'd be an MP, let alone sit around the Cabinet table," Faafoi said.
He entered Parliament in 2010, winning the Mana byelection.
In his speech Faafoi paid tribute to the "amazing and talented Barbara Edmonds" who now holds the seat.
He spoke of his love of Porirua, and mentioned the late Rev Perema Leasi and his support for more quality social housing.
"I'm proud a Labour Government delivered that."
Faafoi paid tribute to his colleagues and friends - present and former.
Annette King: "In Opposition, there was no better camp mother than Annette King."
Clayton Cosgrove: "As Whip I could never find you when you were on house roster – so it's good to see you in the House today."
Megan Woods: "My best mate here. I will not miss your constant jibes and willingness to tell anyone that I am the only Pacific Islander alive that is allergic to seafood."
He paid tribute to the Pacific caucus which "shows the connection Labour has to our Pacific community".
He thanked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her leadership through the Covid-19 response.
"There are people alive today – because of you Prime Minister."
But he also brought up an anecdote from Pasifika in 2012 that had the House and gallery in near raucous laughter.
"I said I'd donate $500 to your campaign if you got up and danced with a group on stage.
"I never thought you'd do it – you did.
"PM I know it's been 10 years – but earlier this week I donated $500 to the Mt Albert LEC – here's the receipt," he said as he handed it to Ardern.
"I thought about adjusting it for inflation … But …"
Faafoi said a "highlight" over the past five years was accompanying Ardern to Tokelau.
When Labour came into power in 2017, Faafoi was elected as a Minister of Civil Defence, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister of Immigration, outside Cabinet.
Faafoi impressed with his strong work ethic, making inroads in tackling loan sharks, and was quickly promoted into Cabinet, eventually taking on the portfolios of broadcasting - which had long been his ambition - and immigration.
Faafoi said he was proud of his work in emergency management and in the commerce sector.
His career has not been without controversy, however. In 2019 he had to apologise to the Prime Minister for promising to speed up an immigration visa application for Opshop singer Jason Kerrison's father.
Leading into the 2020 election it is understood Faafoi's desire to be with his young family began to outweigh political ambition.
Ardern managed to convince him to stay on, continuing his work in immigration and broadcasting while taking on justice as well.
Faafoi has also been under pressure in the justice sector, with criticism over slow progress following several major reports at the start of Labour's reign. Faafoi has also faced criticism over stalled progress on hate speech legislation.
Budget 2022 delivered over $2 billion to the sector, with advocates indicating the tables could be starting to turn.
Most recently Faafoi faced questions over how TVNZ handled the hiring of Breakfast host Kamahl Santamaria, who quit amid allegations of inappropriate conduct.
Faafoi has led major changes within public broadcasting, including controversial work to see state broadcasters RNZ and TVNZ subsumed since 2018.
"It's been a piece of work that I am proud of and must be done."
He also had a word to the "naysayers on both left and right".
"You need to get with times.
"If public media doesn't change – the very people who need trusted sources of news, information and their identity won't have it available to them as previous generations have.
"We know that right now those audiences are not engaging with public media.
"In the new future – the Orchestra, Opera, Otara, and Oxford will all be at home on the platforms of the new media entity."
Faafoi has come under immense pressure as immigration minister throughout the pandemic, having to operate with a largely closed border.
Many questions were asked about immigration settings and particularly the impacts on migrant families who split through the pandemic, and pathways to residency.
"Immigration at the best of times is always a challenging portfolio," Faafoi said.
"I don't wish the circumstances of the last two years on any other Immigration Minister.
"Closing our border was the right thing to do. It kept New Zealand safe.
"But it created difficulties, and very few if any levers that didn't pose heightened Covid risk.
"I am proud of the 2021 Resident Visa, our rebalance, our response to the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine."
Faafoi paid tribute to his family, many of whom were in the public gallery, including his mother. He acknowledged his dad who died in 2013.
"We miss him every day. It would have been great to lean on him for advice, especially in the last five years."
"To [sons] George, Fred and Theo, three young men I love so much. I hope the excitement of me being around doesn't rub off quickly."
He acknowledged Theo's fifth birthday yesterday - "School is cool and so are you."
And his partner Mae: "Your support over the last eight years has been massive.
"This year we were meant to get married, Covid got in the way. Let's do that soon.
"Now I will be home more I am worried you will change your mind."