Regardless of what happens in the race to be Whangārei's next mayor today, about a quarter of Whangārei District Council's ward seats will have new councillors.

Three councillors are not seeking re-election today - Okara Ward's Stuart Bell stepped down earlier this year, while fellow Okara Ward representative Cherry Hermon and Mangakahia-Maungatapere Ward councillor Sharon Morgan are not seeking re-election.

As well, long-time Bream Bay Ward councillor Phil Halse is now seeking a seat in the Okara Ward after moving into town. That means that four of the 13 ward seats will have new representatives.

Two-term mayor Sheryl Mai wants a third term and is being challenged by lawyer Tony Savage and road-sealing campaigner Alex Wright, who is also contesting the Hikurangi-Coastal ward. Incumbents Greg Martin and Anna Murphy, together with Shelley Anderson, Marie Minhinnick and Daron Turner, are the other candidates fighting for two seats in that ward.

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Bream Bay councillor Shelley Deeming is taking on the likes of Ken Couper, Peter Grant, Olli Krollman, Tom (Tamihana) Paki and Iain Robertson.

The Okara ward has the highest number of candidates out of all wards.

Contesting alongside sitting councillors Vince Cocurullo and Sue Glen and Halse are rail advocate Albie Barr, Steve Capper, environment campaigner Nicholas Hunter Connop, Tony Gill, Fiona Green, Glen McMillan, Melanie Payne, social advocate Carol Peters, Hayley Read and Tim Robinson.

Three seats now occupied by former policeman Gavin Benney, Crichton Christie and Tricia Cutforth are up for grabs in the Denby ward. Jayne Golightly and Shaquille Shortland are the other two candidates for the ward.

Just two candidates - Sid Diamond and Simon Reid - are vying for one seat in the Mangakahia-Maungatapere ward. Dave Blackley, Don Lake and incumbent Greg Innes will compete for one seat in the Whangārei Heads ward.

Progress results, based on approximately 95 per cent of the votes cast, will be posted close to 3pm today on the various council websites.

The Northern Advocate will also publish results on its website and Facebook page as soon as they become available.