Incumbent Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell has lost his seat in Parliament – along with his Māori Party.
Contrary to political polls in recent weeks, provisional results put Labour candidate Tamati Coffey in front with 9,847 or 54% of the votes followed by Flavell with 8,526 votes.
“The people have spoken, our people have spoken,” Flavell told supporters in his concession speech at Waiteti Marae in Ngongotaha.
It's a tragic outcome for the Māori Party which has been strongest independent voice for Māori since its foundation in 2004 in response to Labour’s foreshore and seabed legislation.
In its first election campaign in 2005, Flavell was one of four candidates to win seats. As he conceded defeat to Coffey, he mourned the loss of a legacy.
“I'm just heavy of heart by the fact that we started a kaupapa believing absolutely that the time was right. That we could have a strong independent Māori voice in Parliament to fulfil some of the dreams and aspirations that our people had …”
After a political career spanning 12 years, Flavell says he is looking forward to spending time with his staunchest supporter.
"At my side has been Erana all the way – on every high and every low, looking after our tamariki and our mokopuna now. And as I started to write my notes, one statement said, ‘I'm coming home, I'm coming home’.”