Newcomer Julie Hardaker is the city's new mayor by just 800 votes over incumbent Bob Simcock with 95 per cent of the count complete.
The city lawyer is at this stage ahead of Mr Simcock for the top job with 12520 votes to his 11723.
Voting closed at 12pm today and the preliminary result will be released about 7.30pm.
Ms Hardaker campaigned on change and transparent governance while Mr Simcock offered a safe pair of hands.
While celebrating with family, friends at a private barbeque, she was this afternoon receiving congratulatory phone calls from local government minster Rodney Hide, as well as the newly elected councillors, Mr Simcock and Mr Redman.
``Bob and I both knew it was close.
``We have an exciting three years ahead of us. One thing you can say about me is I'm a doer.''
Mr Simcock had already conceded this afternoon and is planning a holiday after 16 years of representing the city.
Mayoral candidate Roger Hennebry came a distant third with 4967 votes followed by Lisa Lewis with 951, Andrew Johnstone 413 and Jack Gielen 404.
Meanwhile on council voters have resisted Ms Hardaker's call for fresh blood.
The highest polling council candidate for the west ward is former Hamilton West Labour MP and councillor Martin Gallagher.
Incumbent west ward candidate Maria Westphal will be waiting for the preliminary results to be announced by 9pm tonight about whether she will be returning to council with Rates Control Team candidate and radio host Ronny Phillips holding one vote over her for the west ward's sixth seat.
Former city councillor Ewan Wilson joins incumbents Angela O'Leary, John Gower and Dave Macpherson in the west.
The east ward has elected one new councillor Rates Control Team's Margaret Forsyth who will replace two term councillor Glenda Saunders, who is ranked eighth.
The highest ranking east ward councillor Gordon Chesterman has been re-elected alongside fellow councillors Pippa Mahood, Peter Bos and Daphne Bell.
The progressive result represents up to 95 per cent of the votes cast.
- © Fairfax NZ News