Former mayor Greg Brownless says he is unsure about what he will do next after losing the mayoralty race to businessman Tenby Powell.

In a stunning upset, Powell was elected as Tauranga mayor with a 4000-vote lead over Brownless, with 95 per cent of votes counted.

He said he was disappointed and "a bit sad" but "that's life".

"If you are prepared to win you also have to be prepared to lose."

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Brownless said his only set plans for the near future was a return to the theatre in a play called Noises Off at the Tauranga Repertory Theatre towards the end of the year.

He had notions of indulging his love of writing by starting a newspaper or a magazine but had not given it serious thought.

"I was ready to come into work on Monday as normal but now I'm not."

Brownless had no plans for a return to politics - but did not rule it out.

"I want to give the new council a chance. A better chance than perhaps I had."

He suspected his loss was in part linked to people associating him with various council failures that came to light during his term.

That would include the council's role in the failed Bella Vista development and a series of highly criticised council projects.

He did not think it was necessarily fair for him to wear the blame for some things, but said he could understand.

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"I can understand people wanting to hold me to account for some of the problems that have occurred."

Brownless also admitted he had found the role of mayor "physically exhausting" on occasion lately.

He said, however, he would "stand proud" on his record from his time as mayor.

He felt he was leaving the council in a good place, with a new chief executive, and wished Powell "all the best for getting the city up and running".

He said Powell ran a good campaign and he hoped to see him leverage his central Government relationships to make progress on issues such as transport infrastructure funding.