Is Waitangi Day overshadowed by politics?

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Every year hundreds make a quick dash to secure spot for their tent at Waitangi to take part in the commemorations on the day.  Some locals say the true meaning of Waitangi is sometimes overshadowed by the politics that take over Te Tii Marae.

It's a top priority for some of the locals here at Waitangi, taking a quick dip and getting amongst the people.

Francis Conrad has been coming to the Waitangi celebrations since she was a kid, now she has her own kids who help her with her flax stall.

“Feels good, my boy loves it.  He lives in the water, goes out there, watches the waka go down and picks the pipis, the cockles.  Just loves it aye and you feel safe,” says Conrad.

A few stalls down, Pauline Murphy's Māori medicine and massage tent is set to go.  Murphy says the true meaning of Waitangi is missed out sometimes.

“Waitangi is for the people not for politics, not for policies - it’s about who we are.  We come here to enjoy a day with everybody,” says Murphy.

Over at the Treaty Grounds, preparations are well underway for the big day tomorrow.  You can expect performances by Te Waka Huia and Hātea followed by a night show by Ardijah and JGeeks.

Politics aside, Waitangi Day is a day of celebration for all to enjoy.