Former Labour MP Lianne Dalziel has won the Christchurch mayoralty by more than 48,000 votes and will head a council which includes nine new councillors.
She takes over from Bob Parker, who did not seek re-election.
Ms Dalziel resigned from her Christchurch East seat, effective Friday night, and her Labour-aligned People's Choice ticket has picked up a seat in all but one of the city's wards.
But Ms Dalziel said forging a partnership with the National-led Government would be her first priority.
"We've got the council doing one thing, we've got the Government doing another," she said.
"These two buildings, CERA and the Christchurch City Council, they're side by side and yet neither knows anything about what the other is doing. That's going to stop."
As well as a new mayor, the city has nine new councillors; only four of the eight sitting councillors seeking re-election were returned.
One of those nine new councillors said public anger over the role of former chief executive Tony Marryatt had contributed to the result.
Just one of the councillors who supported a $68,000 pay rise for Mr Marryatt last year - Jamie Gough - has been returned.
Former deputy mayor Ngaire Button was resoundingly beaten in the Shirley Papanui ward, along with sitting councillor Aaron Keown.
One of the ward's new councillors, public relations consultant Ali Jones, said she wasn't surprised as councillors had taken a massive hit over their loyalty and relationship with Mr Marryatt.
Ms Jones said she would be fighting for more of an emphasis to be placed on the residential rebuild and not just the central city.
Ms Dalziel said what she believed to be a culture of excess under Mr Parker and Mr Marryatt would also come to an end under her watch.
The newly-elected mayor acknowleged the low voter turnout, but said she knew many people were exhausted and felt their vote would not make a difference.