• VOTES COUNTED: 32,607- 100.0%
•LEADING CANDIDATE: Todd McClay - 14,283
• 2nd CANDIDATE: Claire Mahon - 13,038
• Margin - 1,245
• PARTY VOTE LEAD:Labour Party - 45.8%
• 2nd PARTY:National Party - 29.6%
National's Todd McClay has won a fifth term as the MP for Rotorua.
However, the margin between National and Labour has significantly shrunk, with 1253 votes between McClay and his closest rival, Labour candidate Claire Mahon.
In 2017, the margin between McClay and then-Labour candidate Ben Sandford was 7901 votes.
McClay received a concession call from Mahon around 10.45pm on Saturday.
He said he had thanked her for the call and for a "clean and respectful campaign".
"I know how much effort we all [candidates] put in and I have respect for all the candidates who put their names forward."
McClay said it was a "privilege" to be an MP in opposition or in government and his job was to work hard for the people of Rotorua.
"It's a responsibility I take seriously. I'm going to work harder [in this term] than I did in the last 12 years."
Before the call, Mahon told the Rotorua Daily Post she was "incredibly proud" of the result, calling it "phenomenal".
Former Labour MP for Rotorua and current Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said while Mahon had lost, it was a "remarkable fight".
She said the closing of the margin between Labour and National in the seat, however, was "a message".
She said Rotorua was now "definitely" a marginal seat.
There were more demure scenes at the New Zealand First party at the Bowls Club in Government Gardens.
NZ First Rotorua candidate and deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau said he voted on Saturday at Waiteti Marae, which he said was "quite special" as it was the first time he had been able to vote on a marae.
He had then mowed the lawns.
He said the response to NZ First in the electorate during the campaign had "never felt so good" and it had been an "enjoyable" campaign.
By midnight, NZ First had attracted only 2.7 per cent of the party vote, meaning Tabuteau would not return to Parliament.
NZ First supporter Lill Emery, and newly-minted life-member, said she had supported the party since day one.
"Oh sweetheart, I could write a book. I walk the walk, I talk the talk about the policies. We do it together, that's what I love about this party."
She said she was frustrated about the results coming in.
"[Voters] are giving so much credit to Jacinda, bless her heart, but they forgot who put her in charge. It was Winston Peters, New Zealand First."
Act had a strong showing on the party vote nationally, and Rotorua Act candidate Pete Kirkwood, who ran in the seat for the party vote, said it had been a "fantastic platform" and that the Act Party campaign for the 2023 election started now.
He said the 727 votes he had received in the Rotorua electorate as at 9.40pm were a "huge vote of confidence" in him and the Act Party.
"It inspires me to do more.
"I hope I am not splitting the right vote [in Rotorua]."
He said he had met all candidates for Rotorua and Todd McClay was "by far and away the best candidate for Rotorua in 2020".
On Saturday night, One Party Rotorua candidate Karri-Ann Vercoe was not at a party but participating in "prayer and worship" instead.
"I haven't really been watching."
However, she was interested in the drama unfolding in the Waiariki seat, with a tight race between Labour's Tāmati Coffey and The Māori Party's Rawiri Waititi.
On hearing 239 people had voted for her as at 10.10pm, she said "That's pretty cool, 239 people believe in me".
She said the campaign had been an "amazing experience" and one had been "unashamedly standing for the Christian faith."
"We'll be back [in 2023], that's for sure. We'll come back stronger."
By midnight, the One Party had attracted 0.3 per cent of the party vote, with just over 98 per cent of votes counted.
Green Party candidate Kaya Sparke came third in the electorate, with 1429 at midnight with 99.1 per cent of the votes counted.
Sparke said: "Insanely stoked with the overall result".
"To see Chloe [Swarbrick] take out Auckland Central is beautiful. Coming third in Rotorua [is] a huge surprise and I'm more than happy with that result."
Advance NZ candidate Kiri Ward and New Conservative candidate Alan Tāne Solomon could not be reached for comment.