Election results have started rolling in with celebrations underway in many parts of the country.
Lianne Dalziel has thanked voters for placing their trust in her as she romped to a landslide re-election victory today and pledged: "I won't let you down".
The incumbent for the last three years beat nearest rival John Minto by a resounding 60,000 votes.
The preliminary figures show Dalziel on 73,001 while Minto has received 12,533. Perennial candidate Michael 'Tubby' Hansen received 1362 votes.
When the former long-time Labour MP Dalziel took over from Bob Parker three years ago, she vowed to get to the bottom of the city's books, during a time the city council was struggling with the fallout and recovery of the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.
She has wrestled with a post-earthquake financial black hole and also helped secure a $603 million insurance settlement for its quake-damaged facilities - the biggest insurance pay-out in New Zealand's history.
Today, Dalziel admitted it has been "a tough three years".
But she feels that residents have understood the difficulties faced when she "opened the books and found all the trouble that we found".
"We've got things in order, got our insurance settled, and now it's a real opportunity to shift the focus as it were from the recovery to the regeneration opportunities that lie ahead," she told the Herald moments after the preliminary results were announced.
"I really feel the people of Christchurch have given me the mandate that I was looking for. It hasn't been easy but the next three years gives us an opportunity to make a world of difference and I'm really looking forward to that.
"All of our challenges are actually opportunities. We're a coastal city, we have a lot of work to do in terms of the future of the residential red zone - that's an enormous opportunity.
"We've set up a new organisation with central government called Regenerate Christchurch - it's an opportunity to do planning quite differently from the way that it's been done since the earthquakes. No more the top down... Cera is gone and it's now a partnership with central government as Regenerate Christchurch has community engagement embedded in its mandate."
Going into her second term, Dalziel wants to trial participatory budgeting as part of a push for local communities to make decisions about their local amenities and facilities.
"That really came through loud and clear for me, that people want to see their local swimming pools, their libraries, and their community halls, they want all their facilities on track and delivered on time, and that's something that we need to get on with."
Lawrence Yule is thrilled that he's kept the mayoral chains.
His rivals for the Hastings mayoralty, councillor Adrienne Pierce and Lawyer Guy Wellwood didn't even come close.
Yule received 10,458 votes with Mr Wellwood getting 7280 and Ms Pierce 4480.
"I'm thrilled and I'm humbled that (the people) have chosen me to be mayor for another three years," Yule said.
"I knew some people wanted change and I didn't know how the water crisis would impact so I just did what I did and handled it the best I could."
It will be his sixth term as mayor and he insisted it was his last term.
Revitalising Hastings CBD was at the top of his priority list, which includes reopening the Hawke's Bay Opera House.
He also wants to resolve the water issue.
"That's a big thing. People are still talking about it, worrying about the chlorine how did it happen and how we can make sure it doesn't happen again. That's my immediate priority."
"I love my job, I'm passionate about Hastings and Hawke's Bay and the people have given back their trust for another three years and I don't want to let them down, I want to work hard to improve the place we live in."
Three current Napier City councillors - Mark Herbert, Mark Hamilton and Michelle Pyke - appear to have lost their seats with 98 per cent of the vote counted in the local government elections.
After eighteen years on the council, Herbert lost his Ahuriri seat to Westshore beach campaigner Larry Dallimore.
Pyke, a two-term councillor lost out to former Napier Girls' High School Claire Hague, who is the new face of the six councillors elected in the At-large ward. Kirsten Wise, Tony Jeffery, Richard McGrath, Faye White, and Keith Price all return for another term.
The Nelson Park ward has been filled by running pair Maxine Boag and Apiata Tapine, believed to be the first Maori city councillor in Napier.
In Taradale, Graeme Taylor has retained a seat, and will be joined by former councillor Tania Wright.
An un-opposed Bill Dalton is mayor.
Re-elected Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick has confirmed Dave Donaldson will again be her deputy.
Chadwick and her supporters, including Donaldson and council chief executive Geoff Williams, are celebrating the result at her home this afternoon.
Reporter Matthew Martin said there was a happy but subdued atmosphere, unlike the celebrations in 2013 when Chadwick won.
Chadwick said she was very disappointed Karen Hunt and Janet Wepa had missed out on spots on the council.
"Both of them have been very hard working councillors leading their portfolios."
Tania Tapsell was the highest polling councillor, followed by Peter Bentley, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait and Trevor Maxwell.
Long serving councillor Mr Maxwell said he was "absolutely chuffed" to be re-elected.
"Even though this is my 14th election I never take anything for granted."
Ruapehu District Council
Mayor Don Cameron said he was very pleased and happy to have another three years to continue Council's work programme in what will be a very exciting time for the District and Region.
"I would like to thank everyone who voted and I look forward to continuing to serve you and continuing the work Council has been undertaking on your behalf," he said.
"Ruapehu is on the cusp of really taking off and this is being felt throughout all sectors of the District."
"As I talked with people over the election period the overwhelming feedback was that they wanted to see Council keep doing what we are doing and where possible to speed it up," said Mayor Cameron.
"A lot of District's claim to 'punch above their weight' but in Ruapehu we really do and have the track record to back it up."
"Ruapehu has been providing leadership in regional economic development under Accelerate25, road funding, local government sector work, local township revitalisation, new approaches to engagement with Iwi and other challenging areas which has not gone unnoticed at national level."
"Over the last few weeks alone Council has been; awarded a Chapman Tripp Project Award with local Iwi for its Wai Group consultation process on water resource consents, a Qualmark Service Award for its Ohakune i-SITE, the hosting rights to the 2017 National i-SITE conference, a finalist in the Keep NZ Beautiful Awards for its new Waiouru public toilets and received a special mention from Audit NZ for how we have achieved an unqualified audit opinion for our Annual Report."
"Individually these are all fantastic successes and together they point to an organisation and a District that is heading in the right direction."
Mayor Cameron noted however that despite these successes and Ruapehu's positive trend Council recognised there was still have a long way to go to get to where the District should be.
"One of these is dealing with the issues created by The Lines Company and its charging model which is recognised as causing significant social issues and acting as a 'hand brake' on investment and growth."
"I'm looking forward to getting back to the 'business as usual' of taking Ruapehu forward," said Mayor Cameron.
John Barrow's wife Deb wasn't confident in buying champagne ahead of the results for the one Tararua seat on Horizons Regional council and contender Andrew Day thought a court case had seen the end of his chances, while Lorraine Stephenson had gone bush.
Barrow was seeking a third term as the Tararua councillor on Horizons, but was challenged by Day from Pahiatua and Dannevirke dairy farmer Lorraine Stephenson.
And while Barrow and Day waited anxiously for the results to come through, Stephenson had packed her saddle bags late last week and was trekking into Cowboy Town in dense Raetihi bush.
Not riding out until late Sunday, Stephenson told the Dannevirke News the trip had been organised well before the election campaign had begun.
And with 90 per cent of the votes counted, Deb Barrow needed that champagne after all, with her husband retaining his seat.
Barrow has taken the seat with 2998 votes, ahead of Pahiatua's Andrew Day on 1448 and Dannevirke's Lorraine Stephenson on 1263.
In 2013 Mr Day lost by 500 votes to Barrow and this time he believes his chances were harmed by the challenge in the Environment Court to Horizons One Plan by Wellington Fish and Game and the Environmental Defence Society (EDS).
"The court stuff hasn't helped me at all," Day said. "Most people haven't had time to look at the details of the court action, but if they'd had more time to assimilate it, things could have been different."
Sandra Goudie is "ecstatic" to have narrowly clinched the mayoralty of Thames-Coromandel.
The three-term former MP for National was at her mother's home today when the progress results came in, indicating she'd edged out contender Peter French with 5584 votes to the former deputy mayor's 5103.
She acknowledged the race was a "close-run thing" but added the campaign had been "really good fun".
Goudie, who takes the reins from Glenn Leach, said she'd missed plenty of calls on her cellphone while shifting some beds around and had since spoken with council chief executive Rob Williams about the result.Goudie expected there would be a "big difference" between serving as Coromandel's MP, as she did between 2002 and 2011, and its mayor.
"But the experience I've had so far has been fantastic... I've found council a doddle and I think the mayoralty will be good as long as we can pull people together in the right direction."
She said her priorities would be "building on where currently are" and making improvements highlighted by a KPMG report, and "just bringing the district together".
Joining Goudie on the council are Tony Fox, Murray McLean, Terry Walker, Jan Bartley, Sally Christie, Strat Peters and Rex Simpson.
A shaking Sheryl Mai, champagne glass in hand, says she is "overwhelmed, rapt and thrilled" with the outcome of today's election.
The incumbent mayor has romped home, winning nearly three times as many votes (13,170) as ambitious businessman rival David Blackley, on 4,765.
"I'm over the moon, and the stars, and Mars and Pluto, all those planets," Mai, now entering her second term as Whangarei mayor, said.
"I really hoped the community would recognise that my leadership style was right for the time. I think this [result] shows we are on the right track.
"I worked damn hard in last three years connecting with the community and they've shown their appreciation for that."
Whangarei's new district council would comprise eight women and six men, tipping last term's equal gender split.
The result would come as a blow to farmer, dad-of-seven and businessman Mr Blackley, who lead the 13-member Go-Whangarei ticket in the hopes of gaining a majority in chambers. Mr Blackley, as well as missing out on the mayoralty, was beaten by incumbent Greg Innes by more than 1000 votes in Whangarei Heads ward.
Just two Go-Whangarei candidates got on the 14-seat council.
Matt Keene and Ash Holwell, who ran on the TogetherTahi ticket, also missed out on both the mayoralty and ward seats. The pair ran a colourful and youth-centric campaign on a next-to-nothing budget which dominated social media. Their online popularity was not reflected in the polls however.
Early indications put sitting-councillor Andrew King in the lead for the mayoralty, but with only 150 votes in it and roughly 1,000 special votes yet to be counted candidate Paula Southgate is still very much in the running.
King has 8003 votes, and Southgate is sitting at 7863.
The outcome of the remaining votes, including special votes and votes received at libraries and council offices on election, will be known around midnight tonight.
King was very pleased with the result but unwilling to break out the bubbly before the final results came in.
"It's very exciting, we're not there yet but it is exciting," he said.
On the preliminary results for those running as councillors he said they looked good for being able to pull a team together.
In the period from February to August this year Mr King lodged 23 amendments in council, of which only three were carried.
When asked if this put him at odds with general council opinion, Mr King said the mayoralty was about getting all 13 sitting members on-board.
"It's not about what I want, it's about what the 13 members want," he said.
King will be staying up to tonight to discover the final vote count as soon as it happens.
King's signs have been the most visible during the debate, but he said it was his consistency that had attracted voters.
"If you look at my booklet from the start, what I said then was exactly the same message I'm saying today. It's about truth and transparency and I've never diverged from those messages.
Candidate Paula Southgate said she remained optimistic and was flattered to have been the highest polling candidate in the East Ward.
"All credit to Andrew for running a strong campaign, he's certainly been very visible from the start of the election period through to the very end."
"No matter what happens tomorrow morning I hope I can make a positive impact on the city."
Candidate Chris Simpson came third in the mayoral race with 5662 votes followed by James Casson with 3927.