A short history of Waitangi Day protests

Waitangi Day is an important celebration of New Zealand’s cultural history, but over the years has also provided a platform for protesters to air their grievances towards politicians and other high-profile figures.

With celebrations just two days away, some politicians (and their security teams) will be preparing for whatever mud may get thrown their way at Waitangi.

Newshub has compiled a history of four memorable modern-day protests on Waitangi Day, some heated, others hilarious.

Queen Elizabeth and the wet t-shirt

In 1990 Queen Elizabeth II was in the middle of a visit to New Zealand on Waitangi Day. 

The British monarch was sat in a car, waving at the crowds when a wet t-shirt was flung at her.

While it didn't hit its intended target, reports from the time say Queen Elizabeth was startled by the projectile.

It landed in her car, right behind where she was sitting, and police were quick to catch and arrest Henearoahuea Tepou, who was sentenced to five months detention.

Tears as Helen Clark denied the right to speak

In 1998 then-Prime Minister Helen Clark was reduced to tears as her speaking rights were revoked at the marae.

Her right to speak was challenged by Titewhai Harawira and the PM broke into tears. She was comforted by several members of her visiting party.

The following year, Ms Clark didn't return to Te Tii for Waitangi Day.

Don Brash gets covered in mud

In 2004, Dr Don Brash was the leader of the opposition National Party, and travelled to Te Tii to ask about why media weren't allowed onto the marae.

On his way into the gate, Brash was pelted by mud from a young protester inside the marae grounds.

He was speaking to media at an impromptu press conference when the clump of mud hit his face, and said that it was "not a bad shot."

John Key jostled by two men at Te Tii

In 2009, then Prime Minister John Key was confronted by two angry protestors as he was entering Te Tii marae.

At the time Mr Key had a broken arm, and was unable to push away as two men grabbed his jacket and yelled that he would not be going on to the marae.

Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Affairs Minister at the time was also hit during the scrap, and then-education minister Anne Tolley was pushed.

Two Northland men were charged with assault over the incident, and it was later found out that they were the nephews of then-Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, though he said publically he did not condone their actions.

Steven Joyce and 'dildo-gate'

It was 2016 when Steven Joyce, then the Minister of Finance, was attending Waitangi celebrations at Te Tii marae.

In what has become a New Zealand icon for modern-day protest, Joyce was standing outside a hotel conference room speaking to media when a woman yelled "thanks for raping our sovereignty" and threw a large, pink sex toy at his face.

It made headlines around the world, video of the incident was played on television in America, and more recently a whole episode of New Zealand show Get it to Te Papa was dedicated to the dildo throw.