Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson's influence in New Zealand has catapulted a previously hapless candidate from obscurity to become Wellington's mayor.
Andy Foster will take the mayoral robes in the Kiwi capital after results in local government elections, announced on Sunday, put him ahead of incumbent Justin Lester.
Foster has served on the Wellington council since 1992, but fell well short in two previous tilts for the top job, winning 6.9 per cent in 2001 and 4.8 per cent in 2016.
This time around, the 58-year-old had Jackson as his major financial backer.
The pair share an opposition to a $NZ500 million ($A466 million) housing development at Shelly Bay, close to the Miramar headquarters of Jackson's film-making empire.
Jackson - who posted a 6000-word opposition statement to the development on his Facebook page in August - also invited his 2000-strong workforce to Foster's launch through his company's HR department.
There is no suggestion Jackson or Foster have broken electoral law, and Foster has repeatedly denied suggestions the Wellingtonian director would influence his actions as mayor.
Jackson has previously come under fire for his role in New Zealand's notorious 'Hobbit Law'.
In 2010, Warner Bros film executives lobbied the government to remove bargaining rights from screen workers in the build-up to The Hobbit series of films, reportedly threatening to shoot the trilogy elsewhere without the law change.
Foster, who stood for the right-leaning NZ First party at the last national election, may be an isolated figure on council in Wellington, one of the country's most progressive cities.
Wellingtonians were less than inspired by the election campaign, which produced a turnout figure of 35.8 per cent, down from 45.6 per cent in 2016.
Nation-wide turnout was 44.4 per cent.
In other election results, former Labour ministers were returned in the country's two biggest cities.
Phil Goff won a second term as Auckland mayor, while Lianne Dalziel was handed a third term in Christchurch by voters.
Australian Associated Press