Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joins the history books as she delivers final speech

Jacinda Ardern has delivered her final speech to Parliament, wrapping up a remarkable 15 years in politics. 

The former Prime Minister reflected on the good moments and the tough ones in front of a packed public gallery. 

Let's do this one last time. 

"Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa," Ardern said. 

The final words of a political powerhouse.

"I would rather be criticised for being a hugger than being heartless, and so hug I did - a lot."

A reflection on 15 years in Parliament, five of them at the top. The Jacinda Ardern we know today reflected on the woman she was when she first arrived at Parliament in 2008.

"Today I wish to share with you the words that I wish to haunt me," she said in her maiden speech. 

"I was 28 years old," Ardern said on Wednesday.

"If I'm honest I was probably a little more than shocked to be here. A feeling that even after 15 years never quite left me."

The one, who was later anointed Prime Minister, at the time said: "It is an absolute honour and privilege."

"It's fair to say that 2017 involved a surprising chain of events," Ardern said on Wednesday.

"It was a cross between a sense of duty to steer a moving freight train and being hit by one."

And of all the moments in between.

The personal: "To my darling girl Neve, gosh I love how independent you are already ... I will happily be known as Neve's mum and I wouldn't have it any other way."

The polarising: "I didn't always get it right, but we were always motivated by the right things."

The extraordinary: "A valedictory is not a place to summarise a pandemic. No one has the time for that kind of group therapy ... And I will concede a tough experience personally." 

To the utterly devastating: "Their stories and faces remain etched in my mind and likely will forever."

Ardern's notes for the poignant March 15 press conference are heading to Te Papa. 

"I still struggle to talk about March 15," Ardern said.

Highlighted for impact in the notes, the words that united New Zealand and travelled the world: "They are us."

Her successor Chris Hipkins was coy on whether he'll dish his former boss a gong.

"Prime Minister, will you give Jacinda Ardern a damehood?" asked Newshub's political editor Jenna Lynch. 

"You know we don't talk about those things before decisions are made," Hipkins replied. 

"How does Dame Jacinda Ardern sound?"

"Nice try," Hipkins replied. 

It's more up to Ardern. It's customary for former PMs to be offered the nod, but some turn it down. 

Ardern has always written her own story. Now she joins the history books.

"And that is how I would like the history books to record the major milestones and challenges that we faced. I did not take them on alone, I took them on with great people."

The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, over and out.