The returning mayor of Kaipara District, Dr Jason Smith, said voters in all Northland electorates had sent a message they thought the region was ''tracking all right''.

Smith said the re-election of himself, Far North mayor John Carter, Whangārei's Sheryl Mai and Northern Regional Council's chairman from the last term, Bill Shepherd, was a vote of confidence in Northland local government leadership ''in general''.

Smith was looking forward to getting straight to work with a Kaipara council that had four new members who were all long-time locals and brought with them a deep understanding of the district, its history, make-up and future needs, he said.

''Stability is really important for us in the Kaipara so there's a great basis for that in this council.


''We're going to have clear, courageous decision-makers on the council. We have a lot to do in Kaipara and there will be no time for sitting on the fence.

''For us at Kaipara, we need to concentrate on social, economic and environmental wellbeing and I hope this new council's make-up will be very helpful to that end.''

Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith has swept back into the role.
Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith has swept back into the role.

Smith swept into the role with a provisional majority of around 95 per cent, against rival Moemoea Mohoawhenua, a Māori activist, writer and film-maker formerly named Benjamin Nathan.

Mohoawhenua, who campaigned for wider use of te reo and more acknowledgment of Waitangi Treaty issues in every council decision, was unavailable for comment at edition time.

First-time candidate Eryn Wilson-Collins, 37, was voted into one of the two Dargaville ward seats and will be the youngest person on the council.

''She brings community involvement, legal and management experience, and her election means we now have three women on the council,'' Smith said.

The other winner in the Dargaville ward was Brian McEwing, who has returned to the fray after experience as a Kaipara District Councillor several years ago.

Another first-time councillor with deep local roots is David Wills, in the West Coast/Central ward, and the fourth is Mark Vincent in the Otamatea ward. Vincent has former council management experience and more recently has led a programme to clean up Kaipara Harbour's water quality.


While the results are clear, the outcome of the Kaipara election is still provisional because of special votes yet to be counted and the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. Kaipara is the only council in Northland to use STV, although the system is also used by the Northland District Health Board.

Kaipara split its former three wards into four this time around, creating a Kaiwaka-Mangawhai ward because of that area's growing population, and to even out representation across the district.

The council will now comprise: Mayor: Dr Jason Smith; Kaiwaka-Mangawhai: Jonathan Larsen, Peter Wethey (both elected unopposed); Otamatea: Anna Curnow, Mark Vincent; Dargaville: Eryn Wilson-Collins, Brian McEwing; West Coast-Central: Victoria Del la Varis-Woodcock, David Wills.

A powhiri and inaugural meeting of the incoming mayor and councillors will start at 10am on Friday, October 25 at Dargaville Town Hall, with members of the community welcome to support the event. With special votes still to process, the final results will be announced on Thursday, October 17, followed by the official declaration on Monday, October 21.