As Waitangi Day celebrations kicked off around the country, 20,000 people flocked to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to take part in the festivities.
A dawn ceremony began the day, with government officials in attendance, as well as many who wanted to welcome in the day with karakia.
Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick was there as the waka flotilla arrived and shared her aspirations for Māori on behalf of the Green Party.
“I genuinely believe we have a pathway for reconciling with Papatūānuku but also with each other in Te Tiriti, in He Whakaputanga and in constitutional transformation here in Aotearoa,” she said.
After the annual waka pageant, the focus then shifted to the arrival of the biggest hīkoi protest in recent years, which travelled from Te Rerenga Wairua Cape Reinga.
The protest was intended as a symbol of unity in which both Māori and Pākehā gathered together to oppose the policies declared by the coalition government.
Waitangi National Trust chair Pita Tipene was a part of the hīkoi and said the unity among those in attendance was a sight to see.
“A lot of people in this country think it’s Māori people who are unsettled about it, it’s not. So it sends a clear message,”