Waiariki candidate Rawiri Waititi. Photo / File.
The Māori Party is a breath away from winning its way back into parliament after Rawiri Waititi's challenge of a lifetime in Waiariki. The party has also mounted strong contests in two of the other seven Māori seats.
With 100% of the votes counted, Waititi has provisionally beaten Labour incumbent Tamati Coffey by more than 400 votes. All of this on Waititi's birthday, a special occasion which musician Rob Ruha helped him celebrate.
In Te Tai Hauāuru, where 100% of the votes have been tallied, Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has come within 1,121 votes of Adrian Rurawhe, who has won the seat for Labour in three consecutive elections now.
Tāmaki Makaurau candidate and fellow co-leader John Tamihere put a strong challenge in against Labour MP Peeni Henare, almost 900 votes behind, with 100% counted.
Labour finished in commanding positions in Te Tai Tokerau, Hauraki-Waikato, Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and Te Tai Tonga.
Results from election night are provisional, with special votes still to be counted. Final results will be announced on November 6.