Sitting in the back garden of their suburban Ōtaki property, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, re-elected Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan, with mayoress Claire Gurunathan by his side, enjoy a satisfying cup of tea - and a slice of special cake.

K Gurunathan was re-elected on Saturday after a long counting process which went deep into the night.

The wait, a council spokesperson said, was because single transferable votes take longer to process and "we also had a large proportion of eligible voters submit their votes in the last few days and a high number of special votes".

He received a phone call from council chief executive Wayne Maxwell about 10.20pm before the results went public shortly before 11pm.


Gurunathan, now entering his second term as mayor, was at home with half a dozen people waiting for the results — they even resorted to games of I Spy to pass the time.

"Once Wayne called there was a sense of relief."

He had felt confident especially during the last two weeks of the campaign and three days before the election he "plateaued" knowing what would be would be especially as most of the votes were in.

"The reality was sitting out there, so there was nothing you could do about it, so I just zenned out."

Gurunathan felt the result was "confirmation of the legitimacy of the previous term, and public confidence".

"People like a council that aren't in-fighting.

"In the hustings that came out very strongly."

A cake made by Moira Brindle featuring Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan. Photo / David Haxton
A cake made by Moira Brindle featuring Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan. Photo / David Haxton

He was happy with the new council noting a blend of experience and newbies.


The five district wide councillors are Angela Buswell, Gwynn Compton, Jackie Elliott, Janet Holborow and Rob McCann while James Cootes is the Ōtaki ward councillor, Jocelyn Prvanov is the Waikanae ward councillor, Martin Halliday and Bernie Randall are the Paraparaumu ward councillors, and Sophie Handford is the Paekākāriki Raumati ward councillor.

"There's strong existing councillors and strong new councillors."

Every election there a turnover of previous councillors and he was surprised to see Michael Scott "taken out".

"He will be a loss because part of the council's engine is the financials and he has been very strong in that area, so he will be a hard person to replace."

He welcomed new members to the council were they had to learn the ropes quickly.

"This is a big machine.

"From the outside you can say stuff — do this and do that — but you have to learn how to operate the machine, and the protocols and all sorts of governance."

Asked about who would be the deputy mayor, Mr Gurunathan said, "It's always good to go with the status quo.

"But then I need to go through the process."

Claire Gurunathan said she had a sense of calm about the whole situation this time round.

"I had no idea, when he became mayor last time, how involved I would be as part of that whole package.

"It has actually been an incredible privilege of being more part of the community."

She said her husband would continue to work hard for the district.

"He has incredible integrity.

"Who you see is who you get.

"He's a very honest person and incredibly passionate about the community.

"I love those traits in him.

"And that is part of who we are as a couple as well."

Kāpiti mayoral candidate vote count:
K Gurunathan - 8973
Gwynn Compton - 8029
Jackie Elliott - 3104
Martin Halliday - 2043