Ratana's Adrian Rurawhe is "pretty pleased" to be back in Parliament for a third term - but says it was tough standing against the co-leader of another party.
"The problem going up against the co-leader of a party is that they get a lot of attention," Rurawhe said.
On election night Rurawhe was 1121 votes ahead of Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer in the race for the Te Tai Hauāuru Māori seat. He expects his majority to increase with special votes.
It's a slightly bigger margin than in 2017, when he won over the Māori Party's Howie Tamati by 1039 votes.
"It gives me a mandate to represent the people once again," he said.
He's now trying to imagine what it will be like to be in a government with a clear majority. For the past three years Labour has had to negotiate policy with the New Zealand First and Green parties - but this term it can govern alone.
"We have a clear majority so the policies that we push through will be very Labour focused."
Rurawhe would not say whether he wants Labour to form a coalition with the Green or Māori parties.
"We always said that we would wait for the electorate to make its decision and then decide how we move forward from that."
The Labour caucus will meet in Wellington on October 19 and begin the process of forming a government. It does a lot of collective decision making, he said.
"I've been doing this long enough to know that it's not over yet. The start of a new Parliament is a really busy time."
He's hoping once those discussions are over Labour MPs will have a few days off before Parliament sits again in mid-November.
He's not sure whether he will still be an assistant speaker in the new government and will be "pretty happy" with any role he's given.
His Ratana neighbour Soraya Peke-Mason polled exceptionally well in the "true blue" Rangitīkei seat, he said, reducing the majority of Ian McKelvie by two-thirds to 2423.
At 60 in the Labour Party list she is now one or two places away from a list seat in Parliament. This could be decided by special votes or she could take a seat later if other MPs decide to leave politics. She has been advised to stay flexible and able to take it up.
Te Tai Hauāuru results
Special votes still to be counted
Adrian Rurawhe (Labour) 9431
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer (Māori) 8310
Noeline Apiata (Advance) 531
Korrallie Bailey-Taurua (One) 247
Kiri McKee (Outdoors) 224
Joshua Morgan (New Conservative) 190
Candidate informals 478
New Zealand First 718
Advance NZ 462
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis 268
ACT New Zealand 230
The Opportunities Party (TOP) 204
Vision New Zealand 75
New Conservative 65
NZ Outdoors 29
Social Credit 5
Sustainable New Zealand 4
Party informals 298