There were no whoops of delight or fist pumps from Whanganui's new MP as she secured victory on Saturday night.

While National Party supporters were raising their glasses, cheering loudly and popping balloons, Harete Hipango was making sure her guests at the electorate HQ in the old Shanton shop were being looked after.

She prefers a low-key approach.

I had thought her surprisingly subdued at the three candidates meetings I saw, especially for someone used to the oratory of the courtroom. No declamatory statements; no grand flourishes. I'd wondered if her cautiousness was out of concern that the seat with the 4000-vote National majority was hers to lose.


Prime Minister Bill English's raised arms on his arrival at the National Party shindig at Sky City was gross exuberance compared to Ms Hipango.

But that is her way. Yesterday she was already preparing to head to Wellington ... there was a job to be done; much to learn.

Talking to the Chronicle, she described herself as "circumspect". Very apt. Not one for celebrations or great shows of emotion, she ran a businesslike campaign with a steely determination that saw her home comfortably.

The local election somewhat reflected the national scene with the sober and pragmatic holding firm. Business-like Bill out-lasting Jacinda Ardern's X-factor appeal just as Ms Hipango prevailed against Labour's Steph Lewis who, while no Jacinda, carries some of her youthful vitality.

Our new MP has big boots to fill. Chester Borrows' ability to relate to all parts of the community made him a great asset.

But Ms Hipango's experience with the more desperate side of local life through her work with the criminal, family and youth courts should stand her in good stead.

And, of course, she becomes the first Maori MP to represent one of New Zealand's oldest towns, and that is something of which we can all be proud.