The results of the Ikaroa-Rawhiti election that saw Labour's Meka Whaitiri secure another term have been somewhat overshadowed by the demise of the Maori Party.
The resounding sentiment echoed up and down the length of the East Coast electorate as Labour's clean sweep of the seven national Maori seats effectively wiped the Maori Party, which gained little more than 1 per cent of the party vote, from Parliament.
Former Maori Party candidate and Wairoa mayor Derek Fox said the House and wider Maoridom would be "poorer" without the voice of Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.
"She was a very good candidate and a very good Member of Parliament. I'm disappointed that Maori in general don't appear to have seen the value of having an independent Maori voice in Parliament, able to work with whichever party has the highest number of seats."
More than 10,200 in Ikaroa-Rawhiti voted for Ms Whaitiri, while Maori Party co-leader Ms Fox sat well behind at just 6436 votes, in second place.
Hastings District councillor Henare O'Keefe said Ms Fox didn't just face Ms Whaitiri as an opponent, but a deeply-embedded legacy that her predecessor Parekura Horomia left.
"Apart from her hard work, what I would suggest is that the Parekura Horomia lineage, or whakapapa, lives on and that catapulted her into the hearts and minds of the populous but then she has gone and added value to that."
Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said this, combined by campaign issues that struck home with voters, led to her success.
"I think the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate was a strong reflection of Meka's work within it. I think there's still a huge sentiment around Parekura, but Meka works hard as well."
Former All Black and local businessman Taine Randell said Ms Whaitiri's local win was to be expected.
"Meka does a pretty good job and she's pretty visible so it was very, very expected that she won. She's pretty strong."
Mr Fox said if all went as predicted, Winston Peters would side with National and leave the seven Maori seat holders, Ms Whaitiri included, with little autonomous power.
"They will be sitting in opposition yet again and that will take them to more than a decade in opposition. So all of those votes have been completely wasted.
"They [Maori voters] could have put two horses into the race instead of one horse who is now in the back paddock."
Marama Fox said the results meant Maori hopes and aspirations now lay in the hands of those Maori seat holders "stuck inside a major political party".
"I feel like they've voted to go back to the days of colonisation and when you talk about being whipped or the battered wife returning to her abuser, those sorts of correlations that Tariana [Turia] expressed three years ago, then I feel like that's exactly what's happened."
She said she never officially conceded as she would keep working to ensure disparities in the Maori community are eradicated.
"Until we have a courageous party to do that, that commands a greater portion of the vote, then we will always be at the whim and goodwill of other major political parties that may or may not have an interest in Maori interests, or ensuring Maori have equitable outcomes in this nation. The power was in our hands and now it's not."
First time candidate Dr Elizabeth Kerekere of the Green Party, who got 1539 votes, said while it was expected Meka would retain her seat, the Maori Party's demise was a "great loss to New Zealand politics".
Holding Ms Whaitiri accountable to her decisions was now a priority, she said.
"Meka Whaitiri said to the people that she will personally, on behalf of the people, work to get rid of stat oil and ban mining and drilling. I will personally be fighting to make sure that happens and that she keeps her word on that."