Tupapa-Mararenga: One Cook Islands (OCI) candidate George Maggie Angene once again won the support of the largest constituency in the Cook Islands, gaining 54 percent of casted votes. Maggie increases his majority by three percent, compared to the last election. Democratic Party (Demo) candidate Lee Harmon was once again second with 366 votes. Independent candidate Teresa Manarangi-Trott received 42 votes. ‘Action man’ has held the seat since 2010. Interestingly, the CIP decided not to stand a candidate in the constituency.
Takuvaine-Tutakimoa: As was expected, Cook Islands Party (CIP) candidate Mark Brown retained his seat, winning a little over 64 percent of the constituency’s vote. Demo candidate Teokotai George was second with 137 votes and independent George Pitt managed only seven votes. This will be Brown’s third consecutive term representing the constituency, after claiming it from Mama Ngai Tupa in 2010.
Avatiu-Ruatonga-Palmerston: Albert Nicholas from the CIP retained his seat with a majority of 46 votes, beating Demo candidate Teina Rongo 265 votes to 219. Before the election, there were concerns Nicholas would be unable to contest the seat due to medical issues. However, Nicholas stood and gained a majority of 54 percent to win his second-term as the constituency’s representative.
Nikao-Panama: Ngamau Munokoa, who had previously held the seat for 22 years, went down to CIP candidate Mac Mokoroa 227 votes to 438. The result was one of only a few landslide victories on the night, with Mokoroa gaining 65.86 percent of all constituency votes.
Ruaau: The Demo’s William “Smiley” Heather retained his seat of Ruaau, receiving 323 votes. CIP candidate Arama Wichman received 277 votes. Heather has held the seat since 2006.
Akaoa: Demo candidate Nooroa Baker caused a major upset, defeating former deputy prime minister and incumbent Teariki Heather 201 votes to 179. At the last election, Heather defeated Baker by 26 votes. He had previously held the seat since 2004.
Murienua: In another unexpected result, former Democratic Party deputy leader James Beer lost his seat to CIP candidate Patrick Arioka. Arioka received 203 votes compared to Beer’s 133. One Cook Islands (OCI) candidate Teariki Unuka received 64 votes.
Titikaveka: In one of the more tightly contested seats, with five candidates standing for election, Demo candidate and incumbent Selina Napa won with 198 votes. CIP candidate Moeroa Thomas-Tamangaro was second with 169 votes, followed closely by independent candidate Margharet Matenga who received 112 votes. Teava Iro received 83 votes and OCI’s John Tumutoa received 62 votes.
Ngatangiia: CIP candidate Tukaka Ama could not wrestle the seat from the incumbent Tamaiva Tuavera, who increased his 50.1 percent majority from the last election, after receiving 254 votes. Ama received 211 votes, or 45 percent of all votes casted. Tuavera has held the seat since 2014.
Matavera: Demo candidate Vaitoti Tupa caused yet another upset, taking the seat from the incumbent and now former minister of agriculture Kiriau Turepu. Tupa received 266 votes compared to Turepu’s 251. Turepu had held the seat since 2010, which was then his third attempt at taking the seat.
Amuri-Ureia: Demo candidate Terepai Maoate won the seat from CIP candidate Toanui Isamaela, who had held the seat since 2010. Maoate gained a majority of 57.36 percent, or 152 votes. He has not represented the constituency since losing the seat to Isamaela in 2010.
Arutanga-Reureu-Nikaupara: CIP candidate Tereapii Maki-Kavana beat out OCI candidate Isaraela Pumati by only eight votes, winning 156 to 148. OCI had held the seat since 2014 and were expected to hold on to it this time around too. The Demos chose not to field a candidate in the electorate.
Vaipae-Tautu: Demo candidate Kitai Manuela Teinakore received 156 votes, defeating the incumbent CIP candidate Mona Ioane, who received 131 votes. In 2014, Ioane won by only six votes. He had held the seat since 2010.
Oneroa: Demo candidate Wesley Kareroa recorded one of the largest landslide victories of the night, receiving 105 votes and almost doubling CIP candidate Teina Ngametuatoe’s 53 votes. The seat is considered a Demo stronghold and the party has won there in the last five elections.
Ivirua: Demo candidate and local businessman Anthony Armstrong defeated the CIP’s Marion Harry 50 votes to 34. Armstrong won last year’s by-election with a 9 vote majority over Oromai Harry. At the 2014 election, former prime minister Jim Marurai was elected unopposed.
Tamarua: The Demo’s Tetangi Matapo was victorious over CIP candidate Mia Teaurima, winning 29 votes to 21. Matapo has held the seat since 2013.
Teenui-Mapumai: The CIP appear to have shot themselves in the foot, with independent Rose Brown taking the seat with a total of 65 votes, followed by CIP candidate Tereapii Porio with 26 votes.
Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua: In what was probably the biggest upset of the night, 22-year-old Te-Hani Brown defeated former health minister Nandi Glassie 61 votes to 42. Glassie had held the seat for a decade.
Mauke: As it stands, CIP candidate Tai Tura has retained his seat by one vote only. OCI candidate Tungane Williams was a close second, receiving 56 votes compared to Tura’s 57. Demo candidate Belezadala Tararo received 27 votes. It is possible the seat will change hands following the final count of votes. Tura has held the seat since 2010.
Mitiaro: CIP candidate Tuakeu Tangatapoto left nothing to doubt this time around, winning the seat from Demo candidate Tangata Vavia 47 votes to 36 votes. Vavia had held the seat since 1994.
Rakahanga: Some had called it, but it was still a shock to see Democratic Party leader and hopeful prime minister Tina Browne lose the seat by eight votes to Toka Hagai. Hagai first won the seat in 2014.
Manihiki: CIP leader Henry Puna strengthened his majority, claiming 77.19 percent of the constituency’s votes. Demo candidate Tereapii Piho received 26 votes. Puna has held the seat since 2010.
Pukapuka-Nassau: Tingika Elikana won the seat by only five votes over Junior Willie Katoa. This will be another seat worth keeping an eye on as final numbers come through.
Penrhyn: Another unexpected result, with dark horse independent Robert Tapaitau stealing the seat from the CIP’s Willie John, who had held the seat since 2014. Tapaitau is the son of the late Tepure Tapaitau QSM, who was once deputy leader of the Demos and the first-ever Cook Islander to become Police Commissioner.