John Key has signed off as Prime Minister today by speaking candidly about his need for public approval during his time in charge.
"Truthfully, I'm the kind of person that likes to be liked," he told reporters this afternoon at his last press conference before handing in his resignation.
"And most people are, but I'm particular of that sort of nature.
"So it's suited me. I've found it easy to do that. But on the other side of the coin things move on very quickly."
In a press conference at Parliament, he said he had "fed off" the New Zealand public's energy and enthusiasm during his eight years as Prime Minister, but he was now aware that he could soon be forgotten.
He referred to a recent encounter with a 14-year-old girl at Auckland Airport while travelling with former prime minister Jim Bolger.
"I said 'Do you know who this is?' and she said 'No'. It's living proof that for a lot of young people I've been Prime Minister for the entire time they have been conscious of these matters.
"And pretty soon there'll be Bill English to focus on. So we should never underestimate how quickly the public move on and that's a healthy thing as well."
While he had regularly come up against hecklers and naysayers - most recently over the Trans-Pacific Partnership - he said the positive moments had outweighed the negative.
Key also said he was looking forward to be anonymous, even though that was "not practically possible all of the time".
Asked for advice for his successor Bill English, he said it was important that he trusted his instincts.
"When you're Prime Minister you often have to make decisions and comment on things without perfect information.
"You can't be prepared for every question and every situation. You simply have to trust your gut."
Key denied the National-led Government had "become stale" after eight years, given the calls from back benchers for changes since he announced his resignation last week.
National had the chance to "change at the margins" under its new leadership, he said.
While the English-led Government would not have a radically different agenda, the new leadership style and policies would ensure there was a "sense of newness" in the Government.
Key's departure from Parliament was marked by tears and applause. After speaking to media, he hugged crying staff members and walked out Parliament's front door with wife Bronagh.
His National Party colleagues formed a guard of honour on Parliament's front steps, and he stopped to hug MPs including Cabinet minister Nikki Kaye, who is on leave from Parliament for cancer treatment but returned to bid farewell to him.
A crowd of around 200 people cheered as a Crown limo took Key away to hand in his resignation at Government House. He will fly to Hawaii tomorrow for a holiday.