Newly elected MP for Whanganui Steph Lewis is feeling "overwhelmed, humbled and excited" after her first two full days in Parliament in Wellington.
Lewis clocked in at the Beehive for the first time at 9am on Monday and told the Chronicle it had been a "whirlwind few days".
"I'm staying out in Lower Hutt at the moment and decided to catch the train in on Monday," Lewis said.
"I walked up the hill to Parliament and I was a wee bit puffed when I was greeted warmly by the awaiting press pack.
"They asked me if I'd ever been interviewed by the media before, and I said 'not by quite so many of you all at once'."
Lewis said from there all new Labour MPs were taken into the party's caucus room and given a welcome and introduction by the Labour Party whips.
"They tell us what we can and can't do on the Parliamentary precinct, and when we can leave and when we've got to be on site.
"I hope there isn't a test on that, because there was a lot of information."
Lewis said she then spent the rest of Monday doing "new job induction type stuff" such as signing up to the payroll, getting new equipment, and sorting out travel and accommodation requirements.
"We finished off the day with a full Labour caucus dinner, and it was really incredible to walk into the room and seeing so many Labour MPs. It was a great opportunity to share campaign war stories and share the highs and the lows.
"The MPs who have been through all of this before were amazing, and gave us tips on how to survive in this environment and how to strike that balance between being an MP and being a family person."
Lewis said because she didn't let herself "think beyond the 17th [election day]", she didn't have any expectations about what her first few days in Parliament would be like.
"Everyone is in a very celebratory mode, but at the same time we know we have some serious challenges coming up.
"We know we have a job to get on and do, and we've been given a very clear mandate from New Zealand to get on and do it.
"I'm looking forward to being a part of that process and making sure that people in our electorate, in Whanganui, South Taranaki and Stratford, get their fair share as well, and we can become regions that thrive again."
When asked about the role of MPs in their districts, Lewis said that while a "big part of the job" of an MP was to be in Wellington, it was important to be in the electorate in recess weeks.
"Wellington is where we do the advocating for our communities to make sure we get things like shovel ready projects and Provincial Growth Fund projects. Although we aren't seen in the community at that moment in time it doesn't mean we aren't representing our constituents.
"In those recess weeks I think it's crucial to be back in the electorate, and making sure you're going into each of these communities and connecting with them as often as you can."
Lewis said she'd been up into Sunday morning "trying to reply to all the messages" she'd been receiving.
"They were coming up faster than I could possibly type, and I think I called it quits at about 2am.
"I've been amazed by the number of people who have contacted me to wish me well on this next chapter. It's been really cool."