When Jim McLay takes his seat for New Zealand at the United Nations Security Council in the coming week, he will be sitting between Malaysia and Nigeria.
That much is known because in an organisation full of complexity in the way it works, the simplest things are best left to alphabetical order.
It won't be unknown territory to him. Mr McLay and senior officials have been "shadowing" the council since November 20, attending briefings and the open formal sessions as though New Zealand were already a member, although not voting.
Mr McLay feels the responsibility but the anticipation too.
"There's a lot of excitement but there's an enormous amount of hard work going in."
The Palestinian issue ignited again in the final days of 2014 with council member Jordan pushing for a vote on a resolution for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2016 - a vote that had not been expected until 2015.
In the end, it failed to get the nine votes required to pass, with only eight in favour, five abstentions and two against (Australia and United States).
Because the vote was taken with about two and a half hours notice, New Zealand did not go through the full decision-making process, which would have included Prime Ministerial sign-off, Foreign Minister Murray McCully told the Herald.
But its vote would have been either Yes or Abstain, he said. He expects a similar resolution will return to the council in the New Year.
Some of the council's agenda is predictable: about 85 per cent of the issues are about the Middle East or Africa.
Issues arise in three ways: new developments in existing troublespots such as the Ukraine, Syria, Mali, Central African Republic, and South Sudan; and issues that arise suddenly such as when flight MH17 with 298 aboard was shot down over Ukraine.
Mr McLay says the way New Zealand won its non-permanent seat, an emphatic victory on the first ballot against Turkey and Spain, has put some heavy expectations on its shoulders.
"What it means is we go on to the council with I would say is a significant measure of legitimacy because we got the vote in a contested ballot of 75 per cent of the UN," he told the Herald.
"It also means there are very substantial, very heavy expectations on us."
Crucial protocols over decision-making and communications between the New York mission, the Beehive and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been established and tested in dry runs.
Political co-ordinators will operate at each point in the triangle to ensure there are no crossed wires and that important issues get sign-off: Amy Laurenson in the Foreign Minister's office, Nicola Hill in New York and Anthony Simpson at the ministry.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully will be following the early days of New Zealand's membership from his home in Auckland and will be in regular contact with Mr McLay.
With only two and half months between the election to the Security Council and taking up its seat, the ministry has been quietly preparing all year in the event of success.
Led by UN divisional head Simon Draper, it has identified 50 issues that could come up on the council and is drawing up background papers.
Mr McLay said New Zealand was well prepared.
"This is an incredible team thing and you can't do it by yourself. We are ready."