Auckland, Wellington stick with incumbents
Len Brown and Celia-Wade Brown have held on to their mayoralties for another term in their respective cities, Auckland and Wellington.
Christchurch voted for change with Lianne Dalziel, who convincingly won the race with around 70,000 votes – her closest rival getting around 22,000 votes.
Making history was Tim Shadbolt, voted in again in Invercargill, and becoming the longest-serving mayor in office in the country.
Voter turnout was lower this year than the 2010 elections, which had inflated voter numbers because of Auckland’s first Super City election and the Christchurch earthquakes.
Local Government New Zealand spokeswoman Helen Mexted said early indications showed voter turnout was expected to be about 44 per cent, down from 49 per cent in 2010.
Len Brown was successful in his bid to be re-elected as mayor of Auckland.
A spokesman for Brown confirmed the election result shortly after 1.15pm. Supporters of Brown were gathering at a bar in Mt Eden to celebrate the result.
A triumphant Brown thanked his family for their "love and care" saying he wouldn't have been re-elected without their support.
He thanked those who voted for him, and also those he beat in the race to become mayor; saying it had been a clean and fair race.
His priorities for the next three years included housing, transport and liveability.
Brown added an Auckland which was a economic powerhouse was required for the betterment of New Zealand as a nation.
"I love this city," he said.
Long-serving Labour MP Lianne Dalziel has a new job as mayor of Christchurch after securing around 50,000 votes more than her nearest rival.
In what many regarded as a foregone conclusion Dalziel convincingly won Christchurch's mayoralty race with around 70,000 votes, preliminary results show.
Her closest rival, Christchurch businessman Paul Lonsdale, got around 22,000 votes.
Speaking shortly after receiving the news of her election from acting Christchurch City Council chief executive Jane Parfitt, Dalziel said she was absolutely delighted by her win and could not wait to get to work on Monday.
Dalziel said she was pleased with the make-up of the new council, which included several new faces.
Kaikoura mayor Winston Gray was re-elected.
Elected unopposed Winton Dalley was voted mayor of the Hurunui District Council.
Claire Barlow was elected Mackenzie District Mayor.
In Timaru, Damon Odey was elected mayor of the district, getting 10,335 votes.
David Ayers was voted the mayor of the Waimakariri district, and Craig Rowley took the mayoralty of the Waimate district.
Angus McKay was voted mayor of Ashburton, with 4,160 votes.
Dave Cull is back for another term as the Dunedin City Council mayor as preliminary results come in.
The results also have former parliamentarians David Benson-Pope and Hilary Calvert returning to politics, both gaining a council seat.
Cull says he's grateful for another term in the top job.
"It's good. It's really gratifying that Dunedin people have retained confidence in me."
Benson-Pope said he was happy voters had responded to his campaign, which had included a list of pledges.
"I hope they hold me to it," he said.
Tony Lepper has been voted mayor of the Central Otago District.
Julie Hardaker has won the Hamilton mayoralty by almost 3000 votes.
Progress results released to candidates showed Hardaker won 14700 votes to beat rival Ewan Wilson, who received 11,900 votes.
Hardaker has not yet learned the composition of her council, which will have at least five new councillors, with official results yet to be released.
She said she had inherited the council at an "all time low" and that her work to turn around its fortunes was the difference in the election.
Throughout the rest of the Waikato, Max Baxter was voted mayor of Otorohanga, and David Trewavas the mayor of the Taupo district.
In the Thames-Coromandel district, Glenn Leach took the mayoralty with 7862 votes.
For the Waikato District Council, Allan Sanson was voted mayor with 4418 votes, with Bruce Cameron in second place with 2923 votes.
Jim Mylchreest was voted mayor of the Waipa district.
Tim Shadbolt has been voted back as Invercargill's mayor.
With six terms as mayor, and two previous terms in control at Waitemata City, Shadbolt is the longest-serving mayor in office in the country.
Shadbolt was first elected in 1993, following the death of Eve Poole, before he missed out on the position in 1995.
Wellington and Wairarapa
Celia Wade-Brown has been re-elected as Wellington mayor.
In Masterton Mayor Garry Daniell has been ousted by councillor Lyn Patterson in a closely-contested race, while at the other end of the spectrum Lower Hutt's Ray Wallace romped home with a massive 17,000-vote majority.
Wayne Guppy stays on as mayor of Upper Hutt for another three wins after a comfortable win and over the Rimutaka Hill Ron Mark will be mayor of Carterton again after being re-elected unopposed.
In South Wairarapa Adrienne Staples stays on as mayor.
Career politician Harry Duynhoven was unceremoniously dumped as New Plymouth's mayor in favour of optician Andrew Judd.
The two term councillor romped in with 16,883 votes to Duynhoven's 7677. It is the first time since 1956 that New Plymouth voters have booted a mayor out after just one term.
South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop and Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke both retained their chains with comfortable majorities.
Bay of Plenty
Tauranga's Stuart Crosby looks set to return as mayor, with progress results for Tauranga City Council put him as having 10,135 votes.
Kelvin Clout is currently in second place with 9547 votes, while Mike Baker has 3339 votes.
Ross Paterson is mayor of the Western Bay of Plenty again with progress result giving him 4536 votes.
Mark Boyle has received 3672 votes while Don Thwaites got 2275.
Steve Chadwick has been elected mayor of Rotorua District Council, with progress results showing her clearly in the lead with 10,999 votes, ahead of Kevin Winters on 4518 votes.
Tony Bonne has been elected mayor of the Whakatane district.
Opotiki voted in John Forbes as mayor of the district council.
Former Northland MP John Carter has ousted Wayne Brown as mayor of the Far North.
A count after midday saw Carter get more than three times the votes of his nearest rival Brown.
The former National MP was made the Bay of Islands electorate's representative in 1987 and was more recently New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands in 2011.
Leading up to the election, Brown - who was mayor for the last six years - told voters council debt had decreased while rates rises had been kept under control but he only ended up with 16 per cent of the vote.
Carter ran away with it, with more than 50 per cent backing him.
Sheryl Mai was voted mayor of the Whangarei District Council, with 4897 votes. Her closest rival was Greg Martin, who gained 3739 votes.
Elected, unopposed Margaret Kouvelis is mayor of the Manawatu District Council.
Brendan Duffy has won the mayoral race in Horowhenua comfortably with 6,053 votes over outgoing councillor Anne Hunt, who received 2,491 votes. Piri-Hira Tukapua was third with 2,130 votes.
Duffy has called his win an "emphatic result" after he received 56.7 per cent of the vote.
"I think that sends an extraordinarily clear message people are happy with what the council has been delivering," he said.
Annette Main has been re-elected as mayor of Wanganui District while Ruapehu District deputy mayor Don Cameron has been given the top job there.
Roly Ellis has cruised back in as Tararua'a mayor with 93 per cent of the vote. Mr Ellis received 4,746 votes. His sole challenger Sheryll Hoera received 944.
Andy Watson has claimed the Rangitikei mayoralty, narrowly tipping over incumbent Chalky Leary by 474 votes.
The Marton man won 1847 votes in the progress results while Mr Leary received 1373.
Napier has a new mayor - Bill Dalton had more than double the votes of this nearest rival, Roy Sye.
In April four-term mayor Barbara Arnott announced she would not be seeking re-election, clearing the way for a new leader.
Dalton is Napier City Council's current chair of finance and campaigned on his opposition to council amalgamation.
He received 7797 votes to Sye's 3124.
Rachel Reese has made history by becoming Nelson's first woman mayor, taking the mayoralty by almost 1500 votes from Aldo Miccio.
Reese took the mayoralty with 7477 votes, with Aldo at 6048 votes.
The region's voter turnout dipped to 48.74 per cent, compared to 52.20 per cent in 2010.
Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman has been re-elected for a fourth term by about 4000 votes.
Sowman was challenged by sitting councillor Jamie Arbuckle, former Marlborough chamber of commerce head Brian Dawson, and farmer Richard Feather.
Richard Kempthorne has been returned for a third term as Tasman mayor.
Kempthorne won with 6149 votes, with rival Kit Maling, a councillor who only stood for the mayoralty, 734 behind on 5415.
On the West Coast, Tony Kokshoorn was voted mayor again for the Grey District council unopposed, and Michael Havill as mayor for the Westland district.