Video: Waitangi Day marked around NZ

Video: Waitangi Day marked around NZ

Around New Zealand today, people marked our national day in lots of different ways. The farther south you were, the better the weather was.

A spirited haka and clear blue skies welcomed those at Onuku Marae in Canterbury this morning. It's a place with historical significance -- the first of three South Island marae where Te Tiriti o Waitangi was originally signed.

"Just couldn't be more important for our people ever," says George Tikao. "It's just one of those things that happened here a long, long time ago."

And while today was an opportunity to reflect on history, for others it was about the future and embracing New Zealand life as one of our newest citizens.

"It's powerful to be a citizen," says new citizen Steven McCann. "We wanted to be citizens. You keep your own identity but you're a part of this. So to do that on Waitangi Day, to do that here, yeah, it's spectacular and it's special."

In Wellington, a 21-gun salute from the New Zealand Army marked the 176th anniversary of the Treaty signing, and hundreds turned out to Waitangi Park on the waterfront.

Video: Waitangi Day marked around NZ

(Dan Lake / Newshub.)

It was a damp start to Waitangi Day celebrations at Takaparawhau -- or Bastion Point -- in Auckland. But that didn't stop a number of people turning out, and they came prepared with umbrellas and ponchos.

The fun and games are a far cry from what was happening on this land nearly 40 years ago when local Maori organised an occupation to prevent the Crown from selling it off for housing development.

"For us to have it here, and as a celebration, actually putting our arms out to everybody to come and celebrate on our land, I think Uncle Grant Hawke says it heals the land and it heals the people," says Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust director Renata Blair.

Some of those people were celebrating Waitangi for the first time. Vijayata Vaid moved here from India four years ago. Her husband has just begun working for the Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust.

"We are very much a part of Ngati Whatua now, so this was our chance to be a part of the family, and we loved it," she says. "It was beautiful the way they welcomed us."

It was welcome not even the weather could spoil.