As it happened: Don Brash gives speech at Waitangi

Waitangi day celebrations began in Northland as politicians from both sides of the Government gather at Waitangi.

The schedule on Tuesday included an official pōwhiri at 10am where Labour and National joined together to be welcomed onto the upper marae at Te Whare Runanga on the Treaty Grounds.

National Party leader Simon Bridges was in attendance, the first National leader to attend since John Key in 2015.

Controversial former-National Party leader Don Brash was also invited onto the marae to speak today, his first time at Waitangi since 2004, when mud was flung at him by a nearby protester.

Waitangi has always been a place of protest. In 2016 a sex toy was thrown at former National MP Steven Joyce, and in 1990, a T-shirt was thrown at Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to the treaty grounds.

Officials were hoping that this year would run smoothly, after a successful first visit for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last year went off with barely a hitch.

Live updates have now ended.

3:24 - Sex-toy thrower from 2016 issued with two trespass notices

Josie Butler, the thrower of a rubber penis that hit Steven Joyce in the face during Waitangi celebrations in 2016, has been issued with a trespass notice for the treaty grounds.

She posted a video to Facebook yesterday saying that police had shown up at her house and issued a trespass notice, but that she would be travelling to Waitangi anyway.

Upon her arrival at Waitangi earlier today, Ms Butler was trespassed for a second time.

She said she was invited to speak on the marae but that opportunity had been taken away from her because of the trespass notices.

2:52 - Don Brash's speech released in full

Hobson's Pledge has released a transcript of the speech Dr Brash gave earlier at Waitangi. 

He said he does not believe handouts will help Māori people in the long-run.

"A crutch may sometimes be essential, but becoming dependent on a crutch never enables its user to walk unaided, let alone to run.

"Constantly suggesting that Māori need special assistance to compete with others is insulting and demotivating."

1:38 - Bishop Brian Tamaki arrived with a congregation on motorcycles

Bishop Brian Tamaki arrived on a motorcycle with a group then made his way towards the marae.

As it happened: Don Brash gives speech at Waitangi
Photo credit: Newshub.

He said he will bring up an “alternative indigenous justice system” with Andrew Little this afternoon to help change disproportionate Māori incarceration rates.

12:21 - Don Brash is welcomed onto the marae

As it happened: Don Brash gives speech at Waitangi
Photo credit: Newshub.

Dr Brash (white hat) has been formally welcomed onto the marae.

Media were not allowed to record the speech Dr Brash made. 

11:50 - Don Brash has arrived at Te Tii marae

Former National Party Leader Don Brash has arrived to speak at Te Tii marae. 

He is currently outside with media. 

He said he is there not only to speak, but to listen.

He doesn’t want our history to be "taught in biased ways" in terms of the history of New Zealand’s colonisation, he tells media.

Dr Brash can’t recite the treaty articles off the top of his head in te reo, but was able to give the general principles of each article.

11:33 - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks from the porch

Ms Ardern has acknowledged the local people, and the absence of Kīngi Taurua, a Ngāpuhi tribal leader who died in May last year. 

Ms Ardern's speech is about what the Labour-led Government has done for Māori, and she is highlighting the need for more to be done about child poverty, mental health, and education among Māori.

She talks about her promises at Waitangi last year.

"It's been one year since I asked all of you to hold me to account.

"There is still more to do. I didn't learn that looking at numbers on a page, I learnt that by visiting the City Mission."

She says the government will not be perfect, and quotes former Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.

"We don't claim perfection but what we do claim is a considerable advance on the past."

11:24 - Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters speaks

Winston Peters is speaking despite not initially planning to.

He keeps his speech short, saying the government and the Māori people should work together to ensure positive outcomes for all.

11:20 - Green Party co-leader James Shaw delivers his mihi

James Shaw has given his mihi and thanked locals for the welcome onto the marae.

He says everyone needs to work together to restore the tāonga of Papatuānuku.

"It's important that we take this opportunity at least to start as we hope to continue.

"I hope that spirit of bipartisanship stays with us for today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the year because our work is too important for petty partisanship."

The crowd stands for another waiata.

11:15 - Former Green Party candidate Jack McDonald speaks

Jack McDonald quotes the speech of Sir Āpirana Turupa Ngata from the centenary of the Treaty in 1840, asking where the Māori people will stand in 2040, will Te Tiriti be honoured in 2040 as it was ignored in 1840?

Another waiata is sung.

10:59 - Simon Bridges speaks to the crowds

Simon Bridges stands and delivers his mihi to the crowd.

He acknowledges the presence of the Ngāpuhi officials, party leaders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and baby Neve "the best behaved bubba on the paepae".

He says there is sometimes discord at Waitangi, but "99 percent of the time it is much better than that".

As it happened: Don Brash gives speech at Waitangi
Photo credit: Newshub.

"We don't know, you know what solutions are best for your hapu, for your iwi and for your whanau.

"We're not here to tell anyone how to live their lives, but have come in a spirit of partnership."

He reinstates his goal of settling all treaty claims by 2024, saying he "won't wait for the government".

His speech finishes and another waiata is sung.

10:55 - National MP Nuk Korako speaks

National MP Nuk Korako is now speaking. He thanks the local people for the welcome.

The MPs all stand to sing He Honore.

10:46 - Shane Jones thanks Ngāpuhi for their welcome

Minister Shane Jones speaks, thanking the Ngāpuhi people for their welcome onto the marae.

"Let this be a day, that our bishop has referred to, with blessings, friendship, and a great sense of humour."

10:41 - Crowds join in waiata

The crowds have joined in a waiata, Nga Puawai o Ngāpuhi.

10:37 - Clarke Gayford and daughter Neve sit in crowd

They are off to the side of the marae seated behind Shane Jones and Winston Peters.

As it happened: Don Brash gives speech at Waitangi
Photo credit: Newshub.

10:32 - Media warned of covering 'negative' aspects of pōwhiri

A member of the security team has said if media only focus on the negative aspect of the day, they won't be allowed back.

10:27 - Speaker begins

Ms Ardern is sitting on the porch of the marae as a man speaks, this is the first time that the powhiri speeches are being translated into English as they happen. 

Dozens more political figures and leaders sit watching from the crowd.

10:20 - Protests have started at Waitangi

Protests have already started at Waitangi, a woman yelled at the parliamentary visitors to "get off" the marae as they were seated on the porch of the Whare Rūnanga.

10:18 - Woman escorted off grounds

A woman started screaming at Ms Ardern and the other MPs, and was promptly escorted off the Treaty Grounds.

10:11 - James Shaw accepts rautapu

Green party leader James Shaw has accepted the rautapu, or Māori offering, for the visiting party. 

As it happened: Don Brash gives speech at Waitangi
Photo credit: Newshub.

10:05 - Jacinda Ardern arrives

Government leaders are arriving at the marae now. Jacinda Ardern is also joined by partner Clarke Gayford and daughter Neve.

9:50 - Haka groups prepare for pōwhiri

Haka groups are preparing for the pōwhiri. It is believed Jacinda Ardern will be brought onto the marae by Marama Davidson and Titewhai Harawira.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz