Visitors oblivious to tensions at Waitangi

While tensions have been simmering at Te Tii Marae, the mood down the road is a lot lighter.

Beachgoers enjoyed a glorious summer's day on Saturday, and a cruise ship carrying 5000 passengers boosted the local tourism industry.

Down at the beach, tourist Lex Hofstee was enjoying the sunshine.

"The people are very nice and the nature is fantastic. And compared to Holland where we're from, there is nobody living here!"

Just across the water from the 50-strong police presence at Te Tii, the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas was heading out to explore the local area.

The passengers were oblivious to the drama at the marae gates.

"I think it's good to see a lot of the cultural things. The boat [and] the [Māori] chiefs were incredible," one of the passengers said.

Local Merva Whale says this is the real Waitangi, and it'd be a shame to move commemorations elsewhere.

"I think a lot of people are unaware that it's actually a fantastic day and it's becoming better every year."