For the past two years under National, the PM steered clear of Waitangi for Waitangi Day commemorations.

But yesterday, PM Jacinda Ardern and her government were officially welcomed to the Treaty Grounds where the historic document was signed 178 years ago.

She was also the first female Prime Minister to formally speak from the sanctuary of the meeting house.

According to Te Tai Tokerau MP, Kelvin Davis, a key theme that's emerged is Māori-Crown relations.

“Ki taku whakapae, nōna te āhua, nāna i kawe mai tēnei wairua ātaahua ki runga i te marae, engari, e puku pai ana taku hāte kia kitea i a Ngāpuhi e pēnei rawa. Tēnei te Ngāpuhi kei te mōhiotia e au.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, who was once a protester, believes protest action may be in decline.

“Horekau te wairua o tēnei rā e ōrite ana ki te wā i whakatūtūngia ai te puehu. Ka mutu, ko au tētahi i whakatūtū i taua puehu. Engari, tērā pea tā te mea tō tātou Pirimia kāhore anō kia taipakeke rawa atu, matomato tonu ana te tupu me tana kōpūtanga.”

While it was all sparks and fire in previous years, this year, things have changed.

Waitangi Day celebrations started this morning with a karakia at 5 am at Te Whare Rūnanga.

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