The only new face on the Wairoa District Council, Charles Lambert wasn't into huge celebrations on Saturday night.

He spent much of the night at his Mohaka Township Rd home with partner Vilma Hape babysitting the grandchildren.

As a first-timer in the council elections, he also wasn't pressing the button too soon, still wary that on the night, as last-one on, with a 99-vote buffer from next-in Denise Whitmore in preliminary results it could all change by the time the final declaration is made.

An update yesterday stretched that to 111, and reaffirmed that Mayor Craig Little is back for a second term with a familiar team with all five councillors seeking re-election comfortably returned to office.

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All townsfolk and in order of voting they are deputy-mayor Denise Eaglesome-Karekare, Min Johansen, Mike Bird, Jeremy Harker and Hine Flood, with 439 votes to nearest challenger Mr Lambert.

"I'm the country boy," agreed Mr Lambert, effectively replacing country girl Benita Cairns from Waikaremoana and who in unsuccessfully standing for Mayor decided against seeking what could have been a fourth term on the council. For Mr Lambert, 59, it was almost the ideal result, for he had said in seeking election: "I don't see any point in reinventing the wheel and would rather build on the gains already made by many good people before me."

It's not his first experience of leadership, most recently having been a member of the Mohaka-based Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust Board, but standing down at next month's AGM of Trustees having decided not to go another round in its recent elections, with a simple philosophy.

"If no one gets off things might not change," he said. But then if he's not happy with how things are going there, he might sometime try to get back on. Mr Lambert was, however, unsuccessful in his bid for a place on the Hawke's Bay District Health Board, also decided in Local Elections 2016.

From a military background, leaving school to join as a Regular Force cadet and serving 24 years, including a "tour" in Singapore and ending as a trainer around the North Island in the communication corps, Mr Lambert returned to Mohaka with three daughters and two sons to run the family land. He was "No 11 of 14", the older siblings having grown into other roles, and while making the small block pay the rates he also had other roles, including the kohanga reo and school committees.

If he hadn't been elected he did have other things to do, one research project on World War 1 servicemen for the Wairoa Museum and another for a joint families health and wellbeing project in which Ngati Pahauwera has partnered with Otago University.

Ms Eaglesome-Karekare, returned for her fifth term and favourite for a fourth as deputy mayor, believes electors have shown faith in a council, now able to make progress after having much of the last term disrupted by the fight against the Hawke's Bay local government reorganisation proposal, which was rejected by referendum in September last year.

"I believe we are doing what they (Wairoa) wanted us to do," she said.

She has no thoughts of this being a final term, nor someday becoming mayor. She enjoys her other job, making a difference in the lives of young people in her youth services contract for the Ministry of Social Development and based at Wairoa College.