Northern Hawke's Bay farmer Craig Little has been elected to a second term as Mayor of Wairoa in an expected result despite a strong challenge from departing three-term councillor Benita Cairns.
First elected to the job when ousting former Mayor Les Probert in 2013, Mr Little was at home on the farm northwest of Wairoa when he received the preliminary result showing a 724-vote majority - by 1863 votes to 1139.
The third candidate, 85-year-old retired school teacher Roland Matley, had posted 84 votes.
All five councillors seeking re-election in the single district-wide poll of 14 candidates retained their seats, headed by deputy mayor Denise Eaglesome-Karekare, with 1889 votes. Charles Lambert claiming the vacant and seat and sixth place on the poll of 14 candidates with a vote of 1165.
Also re-elected were Min Johansen, Mike Bird, Jeremy Harker, and Hine Beth Flood.
There could , however, be significant change at the next election in Wairoa in 2019, with a poll running alongside the election showing strong support for the introduction of a Maori Ward on the council. The vote for the establishment of Maori wards was supported by 1553 votes, with 301 against.