A look back at Waitangi's greatest hits


With John Key staying away from Waitangi this year, the annual drama for politicians at Te Tii Marae looks like it'll stay away too.

The lower marae seems to be a polarizing place for the nation's political leaders, and the Prime Minister's decision to stay away could have saved him from another infamous incident.

The most high-profile victim of the Waitangi woes was Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to Waitangi in 1990, to commemorate 150 years since the Treaty was signed.

Most gave her a warm welcome, but one protester threw a t-shirt at her -- an interesting weapon of choice.   

Nine years later, it was Helen Clark in the firing line as Leader of the Opposition.

She was reduced to tears after having her speaking rights surprisingly revoked.

A look back at Waitangi's greatest hits

It was the beginning of the end of Ms Clark's participation in commemorations at Waitangi, but it wasn't the end of the drama.

Arguably the best incident at Te Tii Marae came in 2004, when National Opposition Leader Don Brash was hit in the face with a clump of mud.

It was his first ever visit to Waitangi, where he accused the marae's elders of being racist because they'd banned mainstream media from the grounds. 

A look back at Waitangi's greatest hits

Instead of ducking for cover or feigning injury, Dr Brash casually replied: "Not a bad shot," before rubbing the dirt from his face.  

His successor John Key had it rough at Waitangi right from his first visit as Prime Minister in 2009.

As he arrived at the entrance to Te Tii Marae, two local men charged at him and his entourage and tried to assault him.

A look back at Waitangi's greatest hits

They were later charged and given community service -- and identified as the nephews of then Maori party MP Hone Harawira.

Mr Key was again the target in 2014 -- but it was tame compared to the others, although hilarious for its randomness.

Just as Mr Key was leaving the marae grounds, a local protester emptied a bucket of dead fish onto the pathway.

A look back at Waitangi's greatest hits

It was harmless and amusing, and it didn't stop Mr Key from exiting the grounds. He just stepped over the fish and went on his merry way.

This year could have seen another entry added to this list, but after nine years of attending, the Prime Minister's finally pulled the pin.