Dannevirke's Jim Crispin was last on the Tararua District Council in 2008, five years later he's back.
However, Mr Crispin said he was surprised by his success.
"I thought I'd end up fifth or sixth on the list, now the hard work starts. It's easy to do all the talking, but now I want to get my teeth into economic development," he said.
"We're in desperate times and I've never seen it like this. Farming is struggling and our retail sector is exposed and we don't have jobs for our youngsters who have to leave the district."
Mr Crispin said he was hoping to take on the economic and roading portfolios on the council. "That's if Roly (Ellis) will let me," he said. "I won't be staying quiet this term, but want to be vigorous instead."
Also new on the council in the northern ward is Carole Isaacson. Mrs Isaacson was also elected onto the Dannevirke Community Board, but was required to vacate the seat, allowing Tim Delaney to move onto the four-man board.
There were four vacancies in the northern ward for the council, with one seat already vacant because of the sudden death of councillor Brenda Dodunski. Sitting councillor Chris Southgate, who was seeking a fourth term on the council, lost out.
In the southern ward, newcomer, Eketahuna dairy farmer Tracey Collis, topped the poll with 1665 votes, ousting Woodville's Peter Johns, who was seeking a second term.
Mrs Collis has impressed many, speaking out at One Plan impact meetings throughout the district and carried this on through her election campaign.
Another to lose out was Dannevirke's Stephen Paewai who stood for the Tararua District Council in the northern ward and for the MidCentral District Health Board, aiming to become the first Maori elected onto the health board.
The new Tararua District Council will be sworn in on Wednesday, October 23.
The preliminary result for the Tararua District Council elections held on Saturday 12th October is as follows.
Mayor Votes Received
ELLIS, Roly 4,960
HOERA, Sheryll 1,019
BLANK VOTING PAPERS 115
North Tararua Ward (4 vacancies) Votes Received
CRISPIN, Jim 2,056
FENEMOR, Keith 1,920
ISAACSON, Carole 1,802
ROBERTS, David 1,653
SOUTHGATE, Chris 1,411
PAEWAI, Stephen 1,118
KENDRICK, James 1,043
HAPE, Hayden 829
BATCHELOR, Derek Independent 487
BLANK VOTING PAPERS 78
South Tararua Ward (4 vacancies) Votes Received
COLLIS, Tracey 1,765
DAVIDSON, Warren 1,654
KELTIE, Bill 1,458
HULL, Shirley Independent 1,424
JOHNS, Peter Independent 1,056
WOLLAND, Dave 750
BLANK VOTING PAPERS 41
Dannevirke Community Board (4 vacancies) Votes Received
DRESSER, Bob 2,659
MACDONALD, Ross Independent 2,494
ISAACSON, Carole 2,191
CHRISTISON, Ernie 1,494
DELANEY, Tim 1,474
EDWARDS, Maria 1,198
BLANK VOTING PAPERS 136
Eketahuna Community Board (4 vacancies) Votes Received
DEATH, Charlie 346
EAGLE, Di 299
SHANNON, Sharon 243
HULL, Trudi 212
GASKIN, Russell 167
MCNIEL, Callum 162
CLIFTON, Denise 151
DIMOCK, Skye 81
HENARE, Lisa 61
BLANK VOTING PAPERS 16
The voter return was 50.08%, being 6,058 voting papers, excluding special votes.