Rough Waitangi weather belies peaceful day

02:45, Feb 06 2014
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LABOUR: The Labour Party arrive at Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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HIKOI: The Hokoi arrives at Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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Prime Minister John Key and Hekia Parata during the dawn service held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
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SERVICE: Dawn service held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
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FLAG: Dawn service held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
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WELCOME: Prime Minister John Key is welcomed onto Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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PROTEST: Wairata Te One One is escorted from Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14
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Prime Minister John Key is lead onto Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14
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FISH: One of the hikoi marchers Joel Bristow, a son in law of Labour MP Shane Jones, who threw fish in front of Prime Minister John Key as he left Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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Awaiting waka during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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ALERT: Waka on the horizon - Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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PUKANA: Waka arrive during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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HEARTY WELCOME: Waka regatta during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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RAPAKI FLAGS: Michael Parata-Peiffer putting NZ flags up at Rapaki Marae this Waitangi Day.
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Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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BRIDGE: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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TIMARU: Sophie 3 and Oliver Greenville-Jones 3 who are visiting from Oxford (UK) with the poi they have just been helped to make at the Te Ana Waitangi Family Fun Day. Sophie and Oliver are staying with their Grandparents in Timaru.
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FORESHORE: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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BE STILL: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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WARRIOR: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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BEATING THE RETREAT: Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae at the Beating the Retreat ceremony held at the treaty grounds in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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MARCH: Beating the Retreat ceremony held at the treaty grounds in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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TIMARU: Sue Eddington of Te Ana and Scarlett Evered 6 of Timaru with her flags at Te Ana Waitangi Family Fun Day.
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BRING IN THE HIKOI: A hikoi heads to the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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UPPING THE ANTI: A hikoi heads to the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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FIRED UP: A hikoi arrives at the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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VOICE: A hikoi arrives at the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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FLAGS HIGH: A hikoi arrives at the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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Waka regatta during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi
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THEATRICS: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations at Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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DUCHESS: Kaiapoi Waitangi Day, Canterbury. Self appointed, the Duchess of North Canterbury Janett McIsaac graced the day with her presence.
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THEATRE GROUP: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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TREATY SKIT: Kaiapoi Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations.
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FAMILY DAY: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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KAPA HAKA: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury. Kaiapoi North School Kapa Haka group.
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PUKAEA: Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Manawa. Hikoi from Te Marae Hine (the square) to Te Manawa. Leading the Hikoi is Horomono Horo blows the pukaea , it was used to welcome people and announce events or occasions of importance, and was also a war trumpet.
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Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Manawa. WEAVE: Volunteer Pearl Henry helps Lanyah Latu(4) with some flax weaving.

Despite nearly horizontal rain big crowds have enjoyed the atmosphere at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi.

The rough weather interfered with some planned festivities and a number of events were moved inside, but it couldn't stop hundreds of people who had come from all over the world to visit the historic site from having a good time.

Six waka crews launched from the Te Tii beach in front of the lower marae, but they were unable to paddle around the point to the Treaty Grounds because of rough seas.

A three hundred strong hikoi, protesting deep sea oil drilling in Northland, that started in Cape Reinga finished its journey on the Treaty Grounds. The peaceful march spoke of the need to protect the environment and of their special relationship with it.

"We the Maori people have been the guardians of this land and we've tried our best to keep a pure and pristine landscape for everyone, the land and the sea but with mining, with drilling that's not going to happen," said Heeni Hoterene.

A couple from Christchurch were impressed by the hikoi's approach and message.

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Gaynor Duff and Terry Reid are travelling around the North Island and timed their trip to Waitangi to coincide with the national day.

"People were protesting but in a dignified manner. If Maori can't have a voice here where can they?" Duff said.

"It's a special place to be today," said Reid.

The Royal Navy Big Band played inside Whare Runanga that also hosted a kapa haka performance.

People happily traversed the grounds despite the horrid conditions. Dressed in yellow full length raincoats, Vira Boessenrodt and Hannah Kling had come all the way from Germany to visit Waitangi.

Boessenrodt now lives in New Zealand, her Kiwi partner's parents live in Kerikeri, and was making her third trip to Waitangi.

"Maori culture is the only culture that NZ has. Everything else is adopted. I find it hugely important. You should know this history and cultural background. It is a colourful culture, it is a happy culture and you should acknowledge that," she said.

She was escorting her friend Kling on her first Waitangi experience, and she was undeterred by the weather.

"The rain is no problem, I come from Hamburg!" she said.

"In Germany you don't hear about the Maori culture. It is really beautiful to see."

Food stalls lined the Waitangi Sports field selling mussel fritters and a Waitangi classic, watermelon and ice cream. The rain had not put off the punters and the stalls had been busy all day.

A local fisherman had been coming for 10 years for the food and atmosphere.

"I pre ordered some hangi, because they often sell out, and I grab some paua and cream" said Jade Beard, from Russell.

And Waitangi Day never gets old for locals who show up religiously to catch up with old friends.

"Yeah man, we've done the rounds. Every year, I never miss it," said Matthew Wihongi, from Haruru Falls.

"I see all my mates I haven't seen for years. The all come from around the country."