Bill English: 'Fantastic' Waitangi DaySave
By Audrey Young, Moana Tapaleao, David Fisher, Brittany Keogh
- 250 people welcomed to dawn service
- Protesters removed from Waitangi grounds
- Prime Minister Bill English attends event at Orakei Marae
Bill English says his first Waitangi Day as Prime Minister at Orakei Marae and at Hoani Waititi has been positive.
English attended events at Orakei Marae and at Hoani Waititi after deciding not to attend events at Waitangi.
Two screaming protestors were removed from the grounds outside Te Whare Rūnanga, the carved meeting house, as the Waitangi dawn service ended this morning.
About 250 were welcomed into the dawn service by a traditional powhiri.
Another 600 or so people were outside on the Waitangi grounds overlooking the Bay of Islands.
Politicians of parliaments old and new attended - Don McKinnon and Jenny Shipley were in the same crowd as Labour leader Andrew Little and Green Party co-leader James Shaw.
A prayer was said by Reverend David Moko from the Baptist Maori Ministries, asking that the Treaty be a guiding light for our nation.
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett read a reading that she "changed a little", asking for ancestors to protect us, and our national day to be celebrated with love.
Labour Leader Andrew Little thanked those who gave us the Treaty; and asked for unity in a world often driven by division and hate.
Meanwhile, James Shaw reminded those gathered that Maori did not cede sovereignty under the Treaty and prayed that more is done to protect Te Reo Maori.
The final waiata was pierced by screams of "not this year!" from protesters at the fringes of the crowd.
It's not clear what the protestors were aiming to achieve, as they were promptly removed by police.
- Additional reporting: Newstalk ZB