The by-election resulted from the death of the previous member Puti Tipene Watene on 14 June 1967.
Labour selected Paraone Brown Reweti, a waterfront worker from Tauranga, as their candidate. He was selected from a large field of nominees at a meeting in Rotorua. The party did not disclose the exact amount, but indicated the number was about 15.
Two days after the selection meeting another meeting was held by supporters of unsuccessful nominees alleging irregularities in the selection and claiming that a member of the selection panel was biased as they had nominated one of the candidates. The rift group later sent a telegram to Labour Party head office to Allan McDonald, the general secretary of the party. The telegram contained details of the allegations and stated Reweti's selection was an "indictment against the Labour Party” and threatened to stand an independent candidate in protest.
The selection dispute resulted in an independent candidate, Donald Mairangi Bennett, being selected by the rift group. Bennett, a car salesman, was a son of Bishop Frederick Bennett. The group said they were standing not as a protest not against Reweti, but against a protest against the method by which he was selected.
- Hanara Tangiwha (Arnold) Reedy, a farmer from Ruatoria who had stood in the seat for National in 1963 and 1966
- Monty Searancke, an employee of the Waterfront Industry Commission and former member of the Gisborne Native Affairs Department
Reedy was selected in a members ballot after which Searancke pledged his support for Reedy and undertook to accompany him on an electoral tour.
The following table gives the election results:
|Social Credit||Cletus Maanu Paul||1,219||13.53||+3.11|
|Independent Maori||Donald Mairangi Bennett||671||7.45|
|Independent||Te Okanga Kahutapere Huata||246||2.73|
- "Labour Party Candidate". The Press. Vol. CVII, no. 31417. 10 July 1967. p. 24.
- "Protest Made - Choice of Candidate". The Press. Vol. CVII, no. 31419. 12 July 1967. p. 28.
- "Eastern Maori - Independent Chosen". The Press. Vol. CVII, no. 31422. 15 July 1967. p. 14.
- "National Choice - Eastern Maori Electorate". The Press. Vol. CVII, no. 31423. 17 July 1967. p. 12.
- Norton 1988, p. 395.
- Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946–1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. p. 395. ISBN 0-475-11200-8.
- Wood, G. A. (1996) . Ministers and Members in the New Zealand Parliament (2 ed.). Dunedin: University of Otago Press. p. 113. ISBN 1 877133 00 0.