When he got the call with the result, just before 1pm, Len Brown was initially numb. "It really doesn't register for a start. For a start it's just numbness and then just euphoria.

"Indescribable feeling, really. Mostly humbling."

He accepted John Banks' concession of defeat soon after 2pm and then stopped taking calls. A phone call from Local Government Minister Rodney Hide went unanswered. A call from Prime Minister John Key went to answerphone.

He didn't bother returning those calls until hours later.

Instead, the first mayor of the new Supercity, a man who will vie with the Prime Minister for power, walked out to address his cheering supporters at a function centre on the southern slopes of One Tree Hill.

He was at the heart of Auckland but looking south to Brown's hometown of Manukau - the predominantly Pacific community that turned out in such unprecedented numbers to launch him to power.

Then, Brown drove with his family and iwi leaders the short distance - just a few hundred metres - to the top of One Tree Hill.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei leaders Grant Hawke and Naida Glavish led him in a karakia, followed by a prayer by Catholic priest Terry Dibble, and a rousing rendition of Whakaaria Mai sung on the windswept hill.

For the mayor, turning Auckland into a rapid transit city is an urgent priority. Extending the Onehunga railway line all the way through to the airport is important. Providing free entry to council swimming pools is high on his list of promises.

But uniting the people is his No 1 priority. That will be about getting the new city's community boards running - "but mostly it will be me, that's my job as the mayor, to unite people".

When Key's Government signed off the creation of the new Supercity, it looked as if his centre-right counterpart in the old Auckland City, Banks, would win the new Supermayoralty.

But yesterday, the Prime Minister emerged from his home in the Auckland suburb of Parnell to pay tribute to Len Brown's overwhelming victory: "Now one person speaks for all of Auckland," Key said.

And Labour leader Phil Goff turned up at One Tree Hill to congratulate Brown.

Len Brown won the election by a landslide: 234,459 votes (48 per cent) to Banks' 169,862 (35 per cent) of nearly 500,000 votes.

Left-wing political commentator Matt McCarten said the Brown victory had nationwide significance.

"Who wins Auckland wins the country," he said. "Even though Labour is on the ropes nationally, suddenly this will be a big flip.

"If you do well in the local body elections in Auckland you tend to do well in national elections the next year. Every time."

Brown's first tangible project will be to create a transport plan around every school, changing public transport schedules and introducing walking school buses.

Out of the almost 600 schools in Auckland, he said fewer than a third of had transport plans.

He wants construction of the CBD rail loop to begin by the end of his three-year mayoral term, with the resource consent process expected to take two years.

Rates will stay the same for the next year - but after that he is faced with the enormous challenge of a rating review combining eight different structures, affecting 1.5 million residents, into one.

Banks, in offering his "unconditional" support to the man who beat him, warned that the rating review would be enormously fraught. "The challenge is to get fairness and equity into a rating system that has never been fair or equitable," Banks said.

Brown said that if Banks was interested, he would look for an appropriate role for him in the new Supercity.

And the new mayor was delivered some early good news with a left-of-centre Supercity council. Even those from the right, such as Banks protege Cameron Brewer, are vowing to work co-operatively across the council.

Brown said he was pleased at the make-up of the council. "Auckland has done exactly what I hoped and prayed they'd do and that is deliver that balance of people right across the political spectrum."

Brown had a heart attack at a public event two years ago, but expressed confidence that his health was up to the challenging new job. "Totally. We won't worry about that. I'm feeling in great nick."

And with the official opening of Eden Park today, Brown has no time for rest.

But he has a promise to his wife, Shan and three daughters: to balance being one of the most powerful people in the country with being a family man.

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Mixed bag in an election soured by forgery charges

Hotly contested battles for seats on the new Auckland Supercity council have produced an intriguing mix from across the political spectrum.

In the new Orakei ward, John Banks' former spin doctor Cameron Brewer was elected with 17,021 votes, easily defeating Citizens & Ratepayers candidate Doug Armstrong who received 10,433.

Brewer, the ex-chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association, promised he would "always be available to the people".

A bitter clash in the Waitemata and Gulf ward ended in a resounding victory for Mike Lee. Lee, the former Auckland Regional Council chairman, gained more than double the number of votes of rival Alex Swney, the Heart of the City chief executive.

Lee said that it was reassuring that voters had rejected the dirty politics of Swney's campaign and opted for a "brand new start".

In south Auckland, one former champion middle distance runner romped home to claim a place on the new region-wide council, while another was edged out at the line.

John Walker claimed top spot in the Manurewa-Papakura ward with 19,697 votes. However, Olympic silver medallist Dick Quax narrowly missed out on one of the two spots in the Howick ward with 18,045 votes.

Former Manukau mayor Barry Curtis also suffered a small defeat in Manurewa-Papakura.

The election was soured by alleged electoral forgery charges against Labour Party candidate Daljit Singh.

Singh failed in his bid for election to the Papatoetoe subdivision of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board in Manukau, finishing a distant seventh with 3055 votes.

He hit out at the charges and hinted that political opponents might be behind the allegations.