Winston Peters has been farewelled at an event honouring his many decades of service at Parliament tonight, but true to form, he dodged media on his way in.
Diplomats and MPs past and present packed into a room to celebrate Peters’ long political career.
“He has been a really big figure on the political landscape for a long time,” 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay said from outside the event.
The event was hosted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
1 NEWS cameras weren’t able to capture Peters entrance as he avoided the fan-fare and slipped in through a side door.
“There are still a lot of questions about the future of New Zealand First and what Peters will do next,” Mutch McKay said.
As NZ First was voted out at the election, Peters never had a chance to give a valedictory speech in Parliament.
The event tonight will go someway to rectifying that.
The 75-year-old entered the halls of power as a young National MP in 1978.
It was not a long stint in Parliament, however, with Peters being ousted from his seat in 1981, before a 1984 return in the Tauranga seat.
A fall-out with then Prime Minister Jim Bolger saw him form New Zealand First in 1993, making a splash with the Winebox Inquiry, with Peters bringing "the documents at the centre of the allegations to Parliament in a winebox", according to the National Library.
He held the balance of power in 1996 before being cut out in a shift of power by National's Jenny Shipley.
In 2017, he took on the deputy Prime Minister role.
"It has been a hard road to Parliament, and in my case an extraordinary hard road," Peters said 40 years ago as he concluded his maiden speech.
"Today I say to the people of my electorate that I will work hard for them, not just in 1979, but year after year, I wish to renew that pledge."
The twice-kingmaker was booted from Parliament for a fourth time at this year's election, after which he addressed his supporters, thanking his voters and volunteers.
"Elections are about democracy, and what the people wish and we should never stop trusting the people who we are privileged to serve in whatever capacity and for however long," he said.
"For 27 years, there has been one party that has been prepared to question the establishment and challenge authority and tonight more than ever, that force is still needed. As for the next challenge, we'll all have to wait and see."