Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received a guard of honour from supporters, parliamentary colleagues and staffers as she left the Beehive to resign.
With fiance Clarke Gayford and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson by her side, Ardern hugged supporters lined up on the Parliament forecourt before getting into a Crown limousine bound for Government House where she will formally resign.
She received applause and cheers as she emerged from the building, including some yelling, "thank you, Prime Minister".
Some supporters were tearful as they hugged Ardern, who was wearing the same dress she wore when Winston Peters announced her as Prime Minister in 2017. Robertson was wearing the same tie.
Labour MP Kieran McAnulty said to Ardern, "well done mate".
Ardern was heard to say "thank you, everyone".
Asked by reporters how she was feeling, Ardern said "good".
When Gayford was asked, he said "relieved".
Ardern gave a brief wave to the crowd saying "thank you" again, before stepping into the car.
Some members of the public also attended to show their support.
Susannah Poole came with her two daughters to see Ardern off, saying she wanted to show her appreciation for the outgoing prime minister.
"She's been wonderful, I think she's been amazing and done an incredible job in a really really hard time.
"I supported the way the Covid response went, but the free lunches in schools is a big thing for me ... I think that's been an amazing thing.
Another supporter, Sabine Peschko said she only intended to go supermarket shopping nearby when she saw Ardern was leaving and got "goosebumps" watching.
"Right time, right place," she said.
A German immigrant, Peschko said Ardern "was the best that the country could ever have".
"[I feel] sad but we have to move on, and hopefully [Chris] Hipkins is the best choice.
"What [Ardern] did with Covid-19, the lockdowns, everything - she saved our lives. There's lots of people who don't agree with me, but she saved our lives."
1News also spoke to some German tourists who had gathered on the Parliament lawn to witness the "historical" moment.
Visitor Dieter Mayer said Ardern was well known in Germany and had "very good press" there.