Ardern cooks breakfast following Waitangi dawn ceremony

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 February 2019, 7:58a.m.

Waitangi Day has dawned cool and windless at the birthplace of Te Tiriti O Waitangi.

Hundreds of people have gathered before dawn at the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi for the ceremony that marks the start of events here.

A large contingent of dignitaries, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has been welcomed to Te Whare Runanga for the ceremony.

Large numbers of plastic chairs were assembled in front of the whare to take the overflow of people.

The large crowd was quiet as it took some time to seat everyone.

Waitangi Day at the grounds where the Treaty was signed between some iwi and the Crown in 1840, is set to be sunny, with huge crowds expected.

Yesterday the town of Paihia was filling up with tourists, those making the pilgrimage to the grounds and bikers.

There was a moment's silence before the service got under way.

Following the early morning ceremony which welcomes the dawn at Waitangi Ardern will help cook breakfast for the public, a practice she began last year after foregoing the more formal invitation-only breakfast at the nearby Copthorne Hotel.

Preparation for the dawn ceremony, upper marae, Waitangi. Photo / Michael Craig
Preparation for the dawn ceremony, upper marae, Waitangi. Photo / Michael Craig

Bishop Kito Pikaahu Bishop of Te Tai Tokerau, led a prayer before Ardern stood to speak.
She began with a prayer and the words of Dame Whina Cooper. "Take care of our children."

The crowd stood respectfully and quiet as the speakers got up one by one.

One onlooker said it was the first time they could remember the ceremony proceeding without any signs of protest.

Ardern will later this morning welcome the waka fleet at nearby Te Tii beach before the crews perform a mass haka.

That will be her last official engagement at Waitangi.

Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi Prime Minister of Samoa arrives for the ceremony. Photo / Michael Craig
Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi Prime Minister of Samoa arrives for the ceremony. Photo / Michael Craig

At 10am today there will be an Anglican service at the whare, where the sermon will be given by Government Minister Shane Jones.

At the same time, Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki will give a sermon in front of an expected crowd of about 2000 at Te Tii Marae.

A hikoi is expected there at 11am, highlighting pollution in Hokianga Harbour.

The Navy will play a prominent part in today's celebrations, with a cultural performance and concert, a 21-gun salute from HMNZS Wellington which is anchored in the bay and a flypast of Seasprite.

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