Kicking off the political year saw the Prime Minister bring her family to Rātana, a mention of the ongoing tensions in Ihumātao and even a brief TikTok dance with locals.
While the speeches were delivered, Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford’s daughter Neve played with members of the front row, shaking hands with politicians and sitting on Ms Ardern’s lap, after playing with the microphone.
It was at Rātana in 2018 where the Prime Minister was gifted the name ‘Waru’ for Neve, symbolising the eighth of November, when the faith's founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana had a vision to bring people together.
“Neve Te Aroha is the eighth grandchild,” Ms Ardern said. “Waru is a fitting name.”
Ms Ardern said the Rātana movement “has always been people”.
“We must keep talking about people, not just politics,” Ms Ardern said.
“It is our people, that is what will continue to motivate us in 2020. It shouldn’t just be a motivation because it's election year, because it’s why we’re here.”
Ms Ardern likened the movement’s values to those of the Labour Party.
“You can see the manifestation of that as you look out to the land where we are working together with Rātana – 60 plots where people of Rātana can begin to build their home."
Last year the Prime Minister pledged $1.9 million for housing at the site.
Ms Ardern also took the time to visit the Rātana temple and was requested to perform the popular TikTok dance to Glitter by Benee, while surrounded by crowds of people.
She spoke of her aspiration to settle the Ihumātao land dispute, saying she “forever remained positive and hopeful” for a resolution.
Politicians from both sides of the House descended on the small town near Whanganui for the annual celebration.
Earlier today, National leader Simon Bridges questioned what Labour had done for Māori.
"The Prime Minister said yesterday she values the facts. Well here are some facts," he said before citing the latest benefit figures, saying they disproportionately impacted Māori.
Māori Party president Che Wilson used the opportunity to speak out against the armed police trials.
“There should be one law for all, where we are treated the same… because the armed response teams is turning us to be like America.
“The biggest criminals are usually white males who wear shirts and ties, but the armed response teams will pick on our people,” he told the MPs.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said he was “looking forward to a very tough year in 2020”.
Earlier in the day, Mr Peters called Mr Bridges “a badly bred dog at a front gate”.