Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa Maori leadership Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc has only its second chairman after a triennial election in which local body politician Bayden Barber has deposed longtime leader Ngahiwi Tomoana.
Voting in an election run by independent poll operators Election Services closed at midday on Tuesday and the result declared soon after 4.30pm, installing Barber, who is also a Hastings District councillor, by a majority of 486 votes.
Just 20.88 per cent of the 19,694 eligible cast votes in the election for chairman, kaumatua and board, in which Barber claimed 2273 votes, and Tomoana 1787.
Tomoana had been chairman for 25 years since the first election in May 1997, held after initial entity Te Runanganui o Ngati Kahungunu, incorporated in 1988 and mandated to govern the country's third-biggest iwi, was split with political issues it was unable to overcome.
Although financially strong, the iwi underwent a constitutional review, led by the now-late Moana Jackson, resulting in its re-emergence under a new banner in December 1996.
Returned in consecutive elections, Tomoana said after his re-election in 2019 it would be his last term, but he changed his mind saying earlier this year that after a lot of walking and the loss of 20kg he was ready to go another round if the constituency wanted him.'
But he also welcomed the challenge saying he supported Barber in his decision to seek the chairmanship.
Barber is nearing the end of his second term on the Hastings District Council, to which he was elected in 2016. The following year he was a distant runner-up in a six-way mayoralty by-election after former Mayor Lawrence Yule stood-down to become MP for Tukituki.
Three other positions were contested, with a particularly close vote for the Wairarapa rohe seat, claimed by Melissa Ihaka by just one vote from one of her two opponents.
The Wairoa position was claimed by Nigel How with a 78-votes majority over the only other candidate and Haami Hilton was returned as kaumatua.
Re-elected or elected unopposed in other areas were Whanganui-a-Orotu (Napier) member Gorge (Hori) Reti, Te Taiwhenua or Heretaunga (Hastings) member Thompson Hokianga, Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea (Central Hawke's Bay ) representative JB Heperi-Smith, Kahungunu ki Tamaki-nui-a-Rua member Hayden Hape.
Representing taurahere (those living outside the Kahungunu rohe) will be Eruera Beattie (Northern) and Brian Ruawai-Hamilton, also unopposed.
The postal vote turnout was less than the 2019 proportion of 22.6 per cent. In 2016 it was 18.2 per cent and in 2013 it was 19.9 per cent.
The new board will meet for the first time on May 20.