Despite not having any concrete plans for Whau, Citizens & Ratepayers candidate Noelene Raffills is expected to take the ward's only council seat.

And if she does win, Mrs Raffills' victory would also be a win for her late husband, Phil Raffills.

Four candidates are seeking the one council seat and "Raffills" is the best-known name on the list.

Mr Raffills, a former principal of Avondale College, died 10 years ago from cancer. To many in the Avondale area, he was a legend.

Resident Conrad Smith is one of those who says he will be giving his vote to Mrs Raffills as a "vote of remembrance" for her husband.

Mr Smith remembers how after fire gutted the college in 1990, Mr Raffills spent day and night with volunteers rebuilding the school.

"Phil is a legend. To be honest, I know next to nothing about Noelene - but it'd be a shame if the Raffills name fell out of the local area," Mr Smith said.

During an interview with Mrs Raffills in the ward, a voter who said he would not be voting for her walked up and wished her well.

"I consider that quite amazing. People know me," said Mrs Raffills, an Auckland City councillor since 2000.

"There is no doubt that the Raffills name and our family commitment to the area has gone on since 1988, and that's a long-term commitment from a family."

Asked what she thought were issues unique to the ward, and her post-election plans, Mrs Raffills could not point to anything specific.

"The issues being faced here are the same as any wards, people want to know they can pay their rates, their parks are well looked after and footpaths can be fixed, so for most wards the issues are the same because people are people all over the place," she said.

On her website, Mrs Raffills was also campaigning for the C&R team, and said the future Auckland Council would require a team approach and "all C&R candidates will give you careful spending, low rates, real progress on public transport ..."

But Whau is not like most other wards.

It is one of two wards formed for the Super City that cut across two existing council boundaries - Auckland City and Waitakere City - and voters in the two areas can be quite different.

Barry Zhang, who lives in New Lynn, considers Avondale to be the "poor cousin" and has little desire to be associated with it.

"Avondale is like a land that Auckland City Council forgot, and it is only good for the Sunday market," Mr Zhang said.

"New Lynn is bustling, and I would vote for a representative from the Waitakere area who knows what needs to be done to improve the area."

While Raffills may be a household name in Avondale, it is less so on the Waitakere side.

Also, in a ward where more than 45 per cent are overseas born, nearly 56 per cent of whom have been in the country for less than 10 years, people who knew or remember Phil Raffills would be in the minority.

Within Avondale, Mrs Raffills will also have to contend with some voters who are still sore about her and her C&R colleagues axing plans for a $10 million swimming pool in 2007.

Her main competition from the west side is Ross Clow, a Waitakere councillor and chairman of its finance committee.

With a battle cry of "Go the Whau!", Mr Clow is pledging to set up a "recreation quarter" in Avondale if he wins "with the fabulous Olympic Park at one end, a fantastic green recreational space at the Avondale Racecourse at the other end, with the two linked by Whau River".

Mr Clow, who is standing as an Independent Ratepayers and Residents candidate, says he is also committed to fight for the "long-awaited and long-delayed" Avondale Aquatic Centre.

Jeremy Kirwan, who lost the 2007 Manukau City Council elections by 420 votes, and Ruby Manukia Schaumkel, of Tongan descent, are the other two hopefuls for the ward.

Mr Kirwan lists transport and law and order as his top two issues.

"Public transport must be cheaper and faster for it to be attractive to users, it must have technology such as Wi-Fi to add value to the service and experience," Mr Kirwan said.

Ms Manukia Schaumkel promises to be "easily accessible, available, approachable and visible" if she is elected.

"As a youngster, I was terrified to approach a government official and found them difficult to get hold of. I intend to change that."

The ward covers Avondale, New Windsor, Blockhouse Bay, Green Bay, Kelston, Titirangi and New Lynn.

CONTENDERS FOR COUNCIL SEAT
* Ross Clow - independent Ratepayers & Residents
* Jeremy Kirwan - independent
* Ruby Manukia-Schaumkel - independent
* Noelene Mary Raffills - Citizens & Ratepayers

ALL MIXED UP
* Median household income: $52,315.
* Ethnicity: European 44.3 per cent, Asian 31.5 per cent, Pacific 17.9 per cent, Maori 9 per cent.
* Birthplace: New Zealand 54.9 per cent, overseas 45.1 per cent.
* Years since arrival in NZ for overseas born: 0-9 years 55.8 per cent, 10-19 years 20.3 per cent.