Provisional Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi is gearing up to become the new leader of the Māori Party.
And he's feeling confident about taking the seat, saying his rival won't be the only one who picks up special votes.
Waititi provisionally won the seat by 415 votes but the results hang on a knife's edge due to the tight margin between him and incumbent Labour candidate Tāmati Coffey.
Coffey had not yet conceded and had confidence the special votes still to come could tide him over.
There had been speculation Waititi would take the leadership of the Māori Party from co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and John Tamihere as the only member to win a seat, and Waititi said this would most likely be the case.
Waititi said it would "naturally fall that way" as he would be the "only sitting member" and it was being looked at by the party.
However, he said that was only for the "sake of politics" and did not take a Māori lens on leadership at all.
"All seven of us are leaders ... we each have mana in our own spaces."
Outgoing co-leader John Tamihere said Waititi had his "full support" and would be elevated to co-leader tane as soon as the Maori National Executive convene.
This was expected to happen by November 6, he said.
Waititi had been non-stop since Saturday night, getting up "very, very early" and driving all over town from television to radio stations for interviews, he said.
"We knew we would be busy but it's an honour to be able to make sure our peoples' voices are being heard."
He said Māori had come out and strategically voted to get more Māori representation into Parliament and Saturday's results had shown how MMP "can work for our people".
Waititi said it would be a "hard one to pull back" for Coffey as Waititi would have to "virtually get nothing" in terms of special votes for Coffey to take it back.
"It was swinging back and forth like a pendulum on Saturday night and the final margin of 415 was the greatest all night.
"I have confidence that Waiariki has been strategic here."
He said they had put up a good social media campaign, particularly to their Australian supporters and they had also encouraged new registrations that would all be counted as special votes.
"Many were driven by our kaupapa and we ran a very Māori campaign."
Waititi was still in Auckland, waiting to get the green light to make the trip down to Wellington.
He said he was waiting to confirm the Māori Party win and they were "ready at the helm to get going".
Waititi was yet to speak to Coffey since Saturday night and said they would need to have a discussion.
"He is definitely going back to Parliament."
When asked if the pair could work together in the Beehive, he said they would have to for the "sake of their people" who are too often thrown to the "bottom of the heap".
"We are far too overrepresented in every statistic in this country. We have to put party politics aside here."
Waititi was waiting to find out what the special votes would look like before he made any decisions but said above all else, they had run an "awesome political campaign".
"Our movement has been rejuvenated. The Māori Party will come back even stronger in 2023."
Incumbent Labour candidate Tamati Coffey said he deeply valued the support of the people and the votes that turned out for him on Saturday.
"Party vote for the Waiariki is undeniably Labour, and despite the best efforts of the opposition, there was no landslide here. I am confident that fact will remain true after the specials have been counted."
He said Waiariki was "always going to be close".
Coffey said the Māori Party's "two for one" campaign was in his opinion a "failure", with Waititi being a "rogue exception".
"If it had been successful, Rawiri would not be the only one looking at being powerless on the backbenches right now ... Our whānau know to improve the wellbeing of Māori you have to be at the Government tables."
He said the Labour Māori caucus had grown from 13 to 15 and retained the vast majority of Māori seats.
"That is the real success story of 2020, in terms of getting more Māori into Government, not just Parliament."
He said his party had helped with housing in Kaingaroa, youth support initiatives in Murupara, and free lunches in local schools and other initiatives that benefited local whānau.
He said the investment of more than $2 billion in the communities was only possible with "strong advocacy" from him taking place at the Government's decision-making table.
"We need to keep moving."