Labour's new Manukau East MP and Parliament's first Tongan-speaking member, Jenny Salesa, says she has been overwhelmed by the tremendous support from voters in the electorate.
She won the seat with an 11,000 majority over National's candidate Kanwal Bakshi. Some 6400 special votes have yet to be counted, however Mrs Salesa said she hoped to capture some of them also.
"I'm really, really humbled that over 15,000 people of Manukau East gave me their vote and their confidence, and I will be advocating strongly on behalf of the people of Manukau East," Mrs Salesa said.
She ran a determined campaign from a sparse fale situated behind the incumbent Labour MP Ross Robertson's electorate office in Otara and conceded Manukau East had always been a "very strong Labour seat". Two-thirds of voters in the electorate gave Labour their party vote in 2011 and Mr Robertson held the seat since it was formed in 1996.
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The 46-year-old former policy analyst is married to the University of Auckland's head of Pacific studies and together they have two daughters aged under 10.
Although they don't yet live in the electorate, Mrs Salesa said they had been looking around Otahuhu.
They were living in the United States for almost 10 years when they left in 2011 wanting to "come back and contribute, give back to New Zealand", she said.
Her motivation for standing came from the disappointment of seeing poor outcomes for Maori and Pasifika people.
"When we left New Zealand, you saw the stats, you saw the educational statistics, you saw unemployment rates and I was hopeful that when we came back things would be better ... they're actually worse."
During her time in the US, Mrs Salesa said she volunteered for Obama's election campaign which taught her how to recruit volunteers and keep them interested.
Mrs Salesa said from her door-knocking and conducting "hundreds of street corner meetings" throughout the electorate, she had learned that housing was "the number-one issue for Manukau East".