Judith Collins embraces tikanga Māori at National Party conference after week of demanding debate on New Zealand name change

Judith Collins opened her party's annual conference on Friday with an acknowledgement the caucus has heard the feedback about their disunity and lack of discipline loud and clear.

The focus was the party acknowledging it had dropped the ball and focused too much on itself, rather than what matters to New Zealanders.

As it happens this very issue was put to voters in the latest Newshub Reid research poll, asking: 'Do you think the National Party is focused on the issues that matter to you?'

Only 30.8 percent of all voters said yes, and a majority 53.8 percent said no.

But where it really counts is with their own voters - and 69.5 percent of National voters are happy with what their party is focused on, while 16.5 percent weren't impressed and 14 percent weren't sure. 

Judith Collins is promising distractions are a thing of the past.

And at the 85th National Party conference, she was embracing tikanga Māori in a big way - learning a different way to hongi and performing waiata.

It was quite a change of speed for the party who've spent the week demanding a debate on the Māori name of our country.

"We normally have quite a bit of tikanga Māori and the reason is that we live in this country," said Collins.

This country, which Collins prefers to call New Zealand - much to the disappointment of one of her only Māori MPs, Harete Hipango, who rolled her eyes at it.

There is no National Party policy on this. It was a rogue idea from Stuart Smith that we should have a referendum on it, and Judith Collins waded right into the debate.

Responding to a question on whether the National Party was focused on the issues that matter to Kiwis, former leader Simon Bridges responded with an emphatic "you bet we are".

But he knows better than most, it hasn't always been that way. Backstabbing, leaking and coup chat was all part of the National caucus membership package last year, and the public hated it.

While she's not had to bang heads yet, Collins is firmly laying down the law for her caucus.

"We do not want disunity - if anyone has disagreements within the caucus they will stay in the caucus," she said.

We'll see.