Some voters in Howick have already had their election victory.

It came, they say, on the day they convinced Parliament to ditch the Local Government Commission's choice of Te Irirangi as the name for the new Super City ward for Howick.

Te Irirangi was the name of the principal Maori chief of the area in the early 19th century.

But in a ward where white and yellow outnumber the brown cousins,the favoured choice was to name the ward after Howick, the 3rd Earl Grey, Viscount Howick of Howick Hall, Northumberland, England.

Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson said then the choice was to have a name people know where to find on the map - but some told the Herald they did it for a more selfish reason.

Dannemora property investor Sherrie Jacobs said she was worried that had the area been named Te Irirangi, house prices in the area could dip.

"I don't like the idea that Howick is considered part of South Auckland, because I think we have more in common with central Auckland."

Six candidates - five sitting Manukau City Councillors and one Pakuranga Community Board member - are vying for the two councillor slots for the ward, which will be the Super City's largest with population numbers comparable to Hamilton City.

The candidates are well aware of how strongly voters in the ward felt, not so much about naming the ward Howick, but rather about stopping the area being called Te Irirangi, and many jumped on the bandwagon early on.

Sharon Stewart, a councillor for 12 years, organised a petition to say no to the commission's name, and C&R's Jami-Lee Ross criticised the choice as "appalling" and "not appropriate".

Ms Stewart will also be reminding voters during her campaign about how she has recently opposed cellphone towers being placed outside homes in the area.

There is a buzz of excitement about the local elections from voters who spoke to the Herald this week.

Six of eight people spoken to in Botany couldn't name a single candidate standing in the ward, but most saw this election as a opportunity to bring Howick closer to central Auckland and away from Manukau.

Dick Quax may have an edge over the others - not because of what he has done as a Manukau City councillor, but because of his past as an Olympian.

Two of the eight questioned remembered his name.

Mr Quax has been campaigning full time with Mr Ross on the C&R ticket since May, and has promised to push to keep rates low and support developing more parks, playing fields and playgrounds in the area.

"Local government rates have continued to rise well above the rate of inflation for too long," says Mr Quax.

"We intend to get value for money and deliver the lowest possible rates ... afforded by the economies of scale created by the single city structure."

Howick is also a ward with the highest concentration of immigrants, where nearly half of the population (48.1 per cent) is overseas born.

Independent candidate Maggie Burrill says the diversity of Howick will be a challenge in itself.

"There is a wide diversity of cultures and religions within the ward, with an ongoing need to assist new settlers to feel welcome," Ms Burrill said.

"There is a willingness for the differing groups to work together, and this needs to be supported to ensure a stable future for all."

Ms Burrill said meeting places were scarce in the area, and if elected she would push for the council to provide a "neutral ground" for these diverse groups to meet and work together.

With the median family income of nearly $73,000, Howick residents are financially better off than others in New Zealand.

Manukau Council leader for transport David Collings, who is standing for Residents and Ratepayers, said the main issues for Howick were transport, water and the district plan.

He has been a member of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative's (Ameti) political steering group for eight years, including six as chairman.

Ameti was the subject of criticism for taking seven years to complete the $427 million scheme to ease congestion for Howick, Pakuranga and Botany.

"Transport is a big issue for Howick, Pakuranga and Botany, and it will be a big issue for Auckland," Mr Collings said.

More than 96 per cent of households in Howick own a motor vehicle, and h 68.4 per cent own two or more.

Pakuranga Community Board member Mike Padfield is the only non-councillor in the fight for the council seat.

In a ward where more than half (50.7 per cent) the voters have been in New Zealand for fewer than nine years, and three-quarters (75 per cent) for fewer than 20 years, the history of the area matters little.

Voters the Herald spoke to said they had little inkling about the area's history or how the local elections affected them, but most said they would be casting their votes for candidates who could help to "enhance property value" of the area.

THE WARD AND THE HOPEFULS
* Median family income: $72,923
* Ethnicity: European 56.2 per cent, Asian 31.8 per cent, Maori 5.2 per cent, Pacific 3.9 per cent
* Birthplace: New Zealand 51.9 per cent, overseas 48.1 per cent

CANDIDATES
* Maggie Burrill, sitting Manukau City Councillor, Independent
* David Collings, sitting Manukau City Councillor, Residents & Ratepayers
* Mike Padfield, sitting Pakuranga Community Board member, The Voice of our Community
* Dick Quax, sitting Manukau City Councillor, C&R
* Jami-Lee Ross, sitting Manukau City Councillor, C&R
* Sharon Stewart, sitting Manukau City Councillor, Independent

Source: Auckland Council