Politicians land in Ngaruawahia
Prime Minister John Key rode a helicopter to Ngaruawahia while opposition leader David Cunliffe caught a ride in a people-mover as politicians descended on the Kingitanga stronghold.
The two political leaders and an entourage of MPs were welcomed on to Turangawaewae Marae for the annual koroneihana celebrations.
Key attended an event in Auckland this morning and defended his use of an Air Force helicopter, saying he he was on official Prime Ministerial business.
Media were banned from the marae during the powhiri but speakers could be heard on a live feed to loud speakers outside the gates.
A petition to mark the New Zealand land wars with a public holiday and make them a curriculum subject was expected to be presented.
Tainui speaker Rahui Papa said the dreams and aspirations of the people were in the hands of those in Wellington.