Whanganui's new MP says it's a role she will take "seriously and responsibly".

Standing outside National Party campaign headquarters on Sunday morning Harete Hipango was greeted by a steady stream of well-wishers.

"[It's] an immense privilege but I know also there's a task ahead, jobs to be done now," she told the Chronicle.

Ms Hipango won the seat, vacated by the retiring Chester Borrows, with a 1841-vote majority over another first-time candidate, Labour's Steph Lewis.

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There is little time or desire for celebration, however, with Ms Hipango getting ready to head to Wellington on Monday to begin her parliamentary career.

"I've never looked at it as a competition or as a celebration as such," she said.

"I'm very circumspect about things. So I'm looking forward to just being with people today.

"I saw somebody going for a walk, so I might take the dog for a walk and just have time to reflect really."

Harete Hipango and teenage daughter Roimata keep an eye on the count. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Harete Hipango and teenage daughter Roimata keep an eye on the count. Photo/ Stuart Munro

Ms Hipango is the 15th MP for Whanganui, the second-female and first of Maori descent to hold the seat.

"That was something that never entered my mind actually.

"I've just always considered having been of Whanganui, born, raised, involved in community right across the board.

"[I'm] comfortable moving wherever I go irrespective of tension, conflict, welcome, whatever. It's par for the course."

During the campaign she had heeded some simple advice from the outgoing Mr Borrows.

"[He said to] be myself.

"It's been interesting. People as well intentioned as they are, everybody offers their own opinion and advice and take on matters and that's where I think it's been quite significant what Chester said."

Harete Hipango addresses supporters on Saturday night. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Harete Hipango addresses supporters on Saturday night. Photo/ Stuart Munro

Having worked as a lawyer for the past 30 years it will be a change of career for Ms Hipango but one she said she was ready for.

"I've travelled with my work. Travelling nothing new, being away from my family is nothing new."

Ms Hipango said she always had held an interest in politics but parliamentary ambitions had only become realistic in the past year.

"It's something that I've been exposed to since I was a child and it was very much par for the course just living in the community," she said.

"Timing is everything. I've always said priority is about being a parent, so raising three children and they're all independent now and left home."

Now her mind turns from candidate to serving MP.

"I'm ever mindful I'm a servant of the people who have elected me in," she said.

Her focus will be on regional growth and development.

"And that's not just about business enterprise. I have come from social justice, community orientation so it's about people as well.

"That's front of mind. But it's also about have balance too and growth in our community."

Harete Hipango is congratulated by husband Dean following her election night victory on Saturday. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Harete Hipango is congratulated by husband Dean following her election night victory on Saturday. Photo/ Stuart Munro

In terms of what areas she would like to work in, justice and the social sector seem a natural fit but she said it was too early to say.

"I'll wait to see what comes my way and certainly put my hand up in areas I am passionate about."

And she's hoping to be more than a one-term MP.

"It's the call of the people [but] yes I would. We'll see how the first year goes and the next two to three years go.

"Of course I know that there's work to be done and not everybody will be agreeable. You don't come into public office to meet or garner everybody's satisfaction and agreement, that's not how it works. It's about the greater interest for the community.

"There's going to be competing interests and tensions that will come from that and it's just taking it a day at a time."

And there's also the matter of whether she will be an MP in Government or Opposition though she was confident her party could form a Government.

"National has done a good job. The people have done a good job with the choices they've made but it's about where to from here."