Key Points:

New Zealand's next Parliament will be the most ethnically diverse in its history - with MPs from communities which have never had representation in Parliament.

But Maori MPs may have lost out in the change of Government, with three fewer Maori expected in Parliament than after the 2005 election.

Six of the intake are of Asian descent - equally divided between the two big parties in Government and Opposition.

National's Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi will become New Zealand's first Sikh MP and Melissa Lee the first Korean-born member. The Chinese will have a representative in both Government and Opposition - National's Pansy Wong won Botany and Labour's Raymond Huo is a list MP.

Pakistani-born Ashraf Choudhary returns for Labour and former Families Commission chief commissioner Indo-Fijian Rajen Prasad joins the party's ranks from its list.

Four Pacific Island MPs have beenelected.

At least 18 MPs, or 15 per cent of Parliament, are identified as Maori.

After the last election there were 21 Maori MPs - 17 per cent of MPs.

There will be more women this time around, with 42 women making up 34 per cent of Parliament. After the 2005 election there were 39 women MPs, or 32 per cent.

The new Parliament will include 16 lawyers (10 of them National MPs), 20 teachers and university lecturers (nine from Labour) and 12 farmers (including 9 National MPs). Four National MPs - Eric Roy, Lockwood Smith, Jacqui Dean and Melissa Lee - have been television presenters.

The push for greater ethnic diversity was apparent in the election campaign, with both Labour and National placing Asian candidates, with their Maori and Pacific Island candidates, high enough on the list to get into Parliament.

The move by the two big parties prompted the smaller parties, such as the Kiwi Party and Family Party, to put their Asian candidates high on the party list in a bid to capture the Asian vote.

This generated unprecedented interest among some Asian communities in the election.

The Korean community, which the Korean Society said only had a 2 per cent voting turnout in the 2005 election, organised a political debate this time, followed two weeks later by the Indian community.

Local Chinese television station WTV also screened its first live broadcast of a political debate between the Chinese candidates in Mandarin.

Pansy Wong, who entered Parliament on National's list in 1996 as first Asian MP, wrote another page of history on Saturday night when she became the first Asian electorate MP after winning Botany - beating her Labour rival, Koro Tawa, by a convincing 10,119 votes.

She said the result was significant, because it showed that voters had "matured" and could see beyond race to assess a candidate. It was possible, she said, that New Zealand could one day have an Asian prime minister.

For the past 12 years, Mrs Wong has been almost a lone Asian voice in Parliament, joined later by Labour's Mr Choudhary and briefly in 2004 by Act's Kenneth Wang, who was not returned to Parliament.

Mrs Wong is also tipped to become the New Zealand's first Asian minister - holding the ethnic affairs and internal affairs portfolios.