These are traits he has carried forward into his political career. A loner and a maverick, he was kicked out of the National Party Cabinet for persistently criticising government policy. He then single-handedly built his New Zealand First party - from himself being the sole MP in 1993, to two, four and now 17 holding the balance of power in parliament.
This is his big test - whether at the age of 51 he can become a team player working in a coalition government.
Always impeccably dressed and groomed, he is adored (especially by elderly women) or hated by New Zealanders. He attracted the biggest crowds of any party leader during the campaign, tapping support from the socially conservative and the elderly and adding a big following among Maoris.
One of 11 children, his father was Maori, his mother Scottish.A populist, he wants "New Zealand for New Zealanders".Reuse content