As it happened: 'Peaceful' Waitangi Day wraps up on Treaty Grounds

Waitangi Day drew to a close on what's been described as one of the most "peaceful" commemorations in years.

Jacinda Ardern broke tradition to host a barbeque after the morning's dawn service, in a bid to show Labour's hospitality.

She's the first Prime Minister to attend the celebrations in three years, and attendees, MPs and commentators have all noted the different feel to the day compared to the past.

Only two protesters were present on Tuesday, a far cry from previous years where hoards of placard-bearers have turned up.

But Ms Ardern is adamant she's not behind the change.

"Ngāpuhi have changed the game," she told media.

Ms Ardern says there's still strides to be made towards achieving equality and upholding the now 178-year-old treaty, signed by Maori and the Crown.

The live updates have now concluded.

9:30am - Jacinda Ardern says there needs to be a debate about equality in New Zealand.

"We measure our partnership by things as tangible as whether or not Māori are living in material hardship, whether they have access to decent jobs, whether or not they're incarceration rate is high.

"There are so many practical ways that we can see that we haven't yet reached all of the goals, all of the responsibilities we have as the Crown."

8:40am - Jacinda Ardern says she's not behind the different feel of this year's Waitangi Day commemorations.

"I wouldn't say I have changed the game," she told media.

"Ngāpuhi have changed the game."

This year's ceremony is being praised for its "peaceful" vibe by attendees, MPs and commentators.

"Certainly for the parts that we had a role to play, we did want to do things differently.

"The barbeque was a part of that - it was just about making sure that we spent more time amongst the people who took the time to come out and be here on Waitangi Day.

"We'll have to make sure we bring a bit more food next time."

7:50am - It will be a day of photo opportunities for Jacinda Ardern.

Here she poses with a group of Māori wardens.

As it happened: 'Peaceful' Waitangi Day wraps up on Treaty Grounds
Photo credit: Newshub.

7:30am - It appears the Labour Party has been put on sausage sizzle duty.

Jacinda Ardern says the barbeque was her idea.

"I really like bacon butties for breakfast."

Usually breakfast is in the Copthorne Hotel where the Labour Party stays.

Ms Ardern says it's Labour's way of showing what Ngāpuhi shows - manaakitanga (hospitality).

Willie Jackson and Kelvin Davis.
Willie Jackson and Kelvin Davis. Photo credit: Newshub.
Andrew Little buttering the bread.
Andrew Little buttering the bread. Photo credit: Newshub.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Photo credit: Newshub.
Jacinda Ardern drawing in a crowd.
Jacinda Ardern drawing in a crowd. Photo credit: Newshub.

7:05am - Two TPP protesters have showed up at the Treaty Grounds - the only protesters of an otherwise peaceful morning.

A protester at the Treaty Grounds.
A protester at the Treaty Grounds. Photo credit: Newshub.

7:00am - A Māori warden who has been attending the dawn ceremony for 30 years says it's "remarkable" how different it is this year.

People were getting sick of the protests at Te Tii, she says.

6:45am - Many of those who attended today's dawn service are impressed with how it ran.

"There just seemed to be something quite peaceful today," one attendee told Newshub.

"Because I was here last year and it was quite different."

Another said it seems New Zealand is "still seeing a fair bit of the Jacinda effect".

"It's pretty peaceful, pretty laid back."

Jacinda Ardern is the first Prime Minister to attend Waitangi Day commemorations at the upper marae since 2015.

In previous years there has been tension and political protest.

6:40am - James Shaw says one of the great privileges of his job is to come to the Treaty Grounds and participate in the dawn ceremony.

"It's been tremendously different" this year, he says, adding Ngāpuhi have done a lot of work as has Kelvin Davis and Peeni Henare.

James Shaw at the dawn ceremony.
James Shaw at the dawn ceremony. Photo credit: Newshub.

6:30am - Dawn is breaking over Waitangi, bringing the ceremony to a close.

6:08am - Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau says this is a very young country with a very young leader and Ardern is "going to be dynamite for this country".

6:00am - "Bless the Prime Minister, her husband and all the people who have offered the baby a name," Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon says.


Ms Ardern made history on Monday when she became the first female prime minister to speak from the porch of the Treaty Grounds' Te Whare Runanga upper marae.

She has also been welcomed with open arms by many during her unprecedented five- day stint in Waitangi as she talked to local leaders about jobs, health, education and roads.

Speaking at Monday's official powhiri for politicians and delegates, she promised to work in partnership with Maori to turn the talk into action, calling on them to hold her government to account on its promises.

"Because one day I want to be able to tell my child that I earned the right to stand here. And only you can tell me when I have done that," she said.

Ms Ardern will on Tuesday look to cap off her successful stint in Waitangi with the Prime Minister's Breakfast and a walkabout with Ministers before heading back to Auckland for the Governor General's garden reception.

She is not expected to be alone.

With Waitangi Day being a public holiday and fine weather forecast, Kiwis and tourists alike are expected to flock to the Treaty Grounds for its free public concert.

NZN / Newshub.