Surprising results from Julie Anne Genter, Brooke van Velden, Hana-Rawhiti Maipihi-Clarke and Tamatha Paul all turned the electorate map a little more multi-coloured than usual. Photo: Getty Images/Beehive

The election results have delivered a menu of surprising electorate turns, with reliable sources of votes for Labour and National turning left and right.

An electorate map that has in the past been almost totally red and blue grew slightly more multi-coloured, with Act’s Brooke van Velden taking Tāmaki and the Green Party’s Tamatha Paul and Julie Anne Genter taking Wellington Central and Rongotai respectively.

Then there’s the Māori electorates, which predominantly went to Labour last time around. In 2023, Te Pāti Māori doubled their electorate take to four.

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21-year old Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke took Hauraki-Waikato from Labour veteran Nanaia Mahuta, ending her parliamentary career after 27 years.

Though the results were predominantly a huge victory for the National Party, specific electorate victories will diversify the final layout of parliament.

At the Greens’ party on the Auckland’s viaduct, the mood was buoyant despite a party vote that through the evening seemed a notch below what might have been expected from recent polls.

The Greens were happy with what was a historic electorate win for them – they’ve previously taken Coromandel and Auckland Central, but this is the first time they’ve taken more than one electorate and the first time they’ve kept an electorate past one term.

Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw were ecstatic about Tamatha Paul’s result in Wellington Central.

“Your work has delivered a Green Party campaign that has defied history,” Davidson said to supporters. “Oh my goodness, massive congratulations to Tamatha Paul. Earlier this evening people were saying Wellington Central was a Labour stronghold but it is looking more and more likely it will elect a Green, and holy heck, Julie Ann Genter, she set out to turn a so-called Labour stronghold Green.”

Greens co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw said the party was making history with the three electorates it was on track to win. Photo: Matthew Scott

Two central Wellington electorates have turned Green for the first time in history, and Swarbrick managed to comfortably hold onto Auckland Central despite polls showing a close race between her and National’s Mahesh Muralidhar.

And for the first time ever, much of the eastern inner suburbs of Auckland turned yellow.

Epsom has been an easy Act seat since 2005 with an unofficial deal with National that the bigger party wouldn’t run for the electorate vote.

However, this time around Paul Goldsmith said he was going for the electorate seat. It made little difference, with Act leader David Seymour winning by a comfortable 7,000-plus votes.

But the real historic turn for Act came from deputy leader Brooke van Velden, who beat National’s Simon O’Connor by a margin of about 4,500 votes.

Van Velden was out at the Churchill Club in Glendowie for the early part of the evening, watching the results with supporters and family.

But as the tide looked to turn for Tāmaki, she headed downtown to join her party’s main gathering on the viaduct.

She received a hero’s welcome as she arrived at the event, and said she credited her success with the hard work of the volunteers on her campaign. 

It’s a once in a lifetime turn for Tāmaki, which has reliably voted for a National candidate to represent them since Robert Muldoon first took the seat from Labour back in 1960.

Despite an enormous victory for National, this election showed how the boots-on-the-ground local campaigns can swing the final result.

They’re often the small pieces of the campaign that fly under the radar and receive less attention from the media than the big swings of party leaders on their national campaigns.

Matthew Scott covers immigration, urban development and Auckland issues.

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