Ben Bell voted as Gore's new mayor

After a long-awaited count, Gore is now home to Aotearoa's youngest mayor - 23-year-old Ben Bell.

Bell has taken over the mayoral chains for the Gore District, ousting the incumbent mayor of 18 years, Tracy Hicks. 

"I feel fantastic. Yeah, really, really excited."

Bell spoke with Newshub fresh off a phone call he'd waited all day for.

"Mum was in the room, actually, by chance and she was ecstatic. I could barely get off the phone before people knew the result. They could see it all over my face."

When preliminary results came out over the weekend, Bell received 2346 votes and Hicks at 2333. Bell was the leading by just 13 votes.

Both candidates have had to wait five agonising days for 63 special votes to be counted. 

"I won by eight votes - so the special votes didn't go my way but I had enough of a lead to hold on until the end."

Even on decision day, the waiting game continued, with radio interviews at Cave FM and a photo op for the paper in front of the iconic brown trout.

Gore District's new mayor was just five years old when incumbent Hicks started his term. It was 18 long years in local politics for him, all over on a Thursday.

Newshub took to the streets of Gore to get a sense of how locals felt about their newly elected mayor. 

"We've gotta have a change," one told Newshub. 

"Will be interesting to see… fresh and young."

"I think very good," said another.

A new name will now be etched in the history of the Gore District.

"You don't have to have grey hairs to get in as mayor."

Bell, mayor at just 23 years old, waving goodbye to the status quo.