Watch: Thousands turn out to support Kingitanga movement on 160th anniversary

A waka extravaganza has taken place on the Waikato River to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Kingitanga movement.

Celebrations are taking place at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia today.

King Tuheitia, the seventh Maori monarch since the Kingitanga movement started in 1858, spoke on the marae to commemorate the movement.

"One hundred and sixty years ago, our collective wakas from across the motu (nation) gathered to usher in and establish the Kingitanga and what was to become the Maori monarchy," he said.

King Tuheitia took on the role of Maori King after the passing of his mother the Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikahu.

Celebrations include kapa haka performances and a sports competition with over 1000 participants.

A flotilla of more than 100 waka put on a spectacular display on the Waikato River as part of the commemorations.

The King was joined by politicians and iwi leaders from around the country for the historic event.

A flotilla more than 100 strong participated in the colourful commemoration. Source: Kingitanga

King Tuheitia was joined by politicians and iwi leaders on the marae today. Source: 1 NEWS

The Maori King says staying relevant and forging global relationships are key issues for the movement’s future. Source: 1 NEWS

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