Up to 30,000 people are expected at Waitangi today and tomorrow as the nation recognises the signing of its founding document - The Treaty of Waitangi - on February 6, 1840.
Waitangi Day is often the place where grievances are aired and politics discussed, with today expected to be the focus of any protests at Te Tii Marae when Prime Minster John Key is officially welcomed on to the Marae.
The Te Rerenga Wairua ki Waitangi hikoi, which is opposed to mining and deep sea oil exploration - was due to greet Mr Key at the Marae and make their feelings known.
And while the politics often take centre stage in news reports, the vast majority of those attending won't see a politician or a protester, with organisers having plenty of events lined up for those wanting to celebrate the country's national day.
Today, activities at the Treaty Grounds go right through to 8.15pm.
Tomorrow starts with a traditional dawn Service in the carved Meeting House followed by Scottish Piper Bain McGregor, while a karakia for the waka activities will be on Te Tii Beach at 9am.
TREATY GROUNDS EVENTS:
Wednesday February 5:
10am -1pm Rosewood play colonial and European music on authentic instruments in the Treaty House courtyard. Be transported back in time with music from the past.
10am - 3pm Creative Fibre Group textile crafts demonstrations in Treaty House courtyard. The Kerikeri Creative Fibre Group will be demonstrating their skills.
12pm - 12.30pm Mau Rakau (martial art based on traditional Maori weapons) demonstration in front of carved Meeting House.
12.20pm - 12.40pm Harakeke (flax weaving) demonstration in front of the carved Meeting House.
1.30pm - 3pm Church Service and presentation at the waka stage for the crew who sailed to Easter Island.
2pm - 2.20pm Mau Rakau (martial art based on traditional Maori weapons) demonstration in front of carved Meeting House.
2.20pm - 2.40pm Harakeke (flax weaving) demonstration in front of the carved Meeting House.
3pm - 5pm Waitangi has Talent public rehearsals of the 10 finalists at the waka stage at the Treaty Grounds.
4.45pm - 5.15pm Royal NZ Navy Beat Retreat at the Treaty Grounds flagpole. Navy band concert and marching followed by the lowering of the flag.
6.30pm - 8pm Waitangi has Talent: who's going to win $1,000 cash? The 10 finalists will be performing on the waka stage. Judges: DarcyRay Flavell (ghost-chips boy) and Whenua Patuwai (X Factor finalist).
8pm - 8.15pm Whenua Patuwai and DarcyRay Flavell performance.
Thursday, February 6:
5am - 7am Traditional dawn Service in the carved Meeting House followed by Scottish Piper Bain McGregor.
8am - 4pm 100 market stalls (art, craft & food) will be spread out around the waka shelter at the Treaty Grounds and the sports field across the road.
9am Waka activities commence on Te Tii Beach with a karakia.
9am - 3pm Life Over Everything Youth Stage at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds sports field. The Raid Movement and other youth groups of Tai Tokerau have a full programme of entertainment, interactive workshops and courses to challenge your thinking, problem solving skills, strength and fitness. Entertainment includes, Hardcore Dance Company, Kairangi Ihimaera, OBC, Brian Gasheema and FAT 32.
10am DarcyRay Flavell performance at the Whare Runanga (carved Meeting House, Treaty Grounds).
10am - 4pm Children's activities on the Waitangi sports field includes bouncy castles with various other fun rides and activities. In addition there is a touch rugby competition.
10am - 4pm KI-O-RAHI AKOTANGA IHO is running Ki making (flax ball making) & Pikipotae (games address) sessions and ki-o-rahi games at Te Atarauarangihaeata (the carved ki-o-rahi field on the Treaty Grounds sports field). Gold coin koha.
10.30am Whangarei District Brass Band performance at the Treaty House.
11am Whangarei band Sidetrack at the Whare Runanga.
10.30am - 11.30am Interdenominational Church service at the waka shelter facilitated by The Right Reverend Te Kitohi Pikaahu, Te Pihopa o Te Tai Tokerau.
11.30am - 11.55am Royal NZ Navy band performance at the Flagstaff.
12pm - 21 gun salute at the Flagstaff.
12.30pm - 1.30pm Royal NZ Navy Big Band performance at the Whare Runanga (carved Meeting House, Treaty Grounds).
12pm - 4pm Entertainment at the waka stage. Eight different acts will perform throughout the afternoon, featuring Kapa Haka groups Hatea and Te Puu Ao, Te Huaki Puanaki, classical violinists, the Martin sisters, local entertainers Mike Hoeta, John Donoghue and Jack Tane, & Northland Hip Hop Dance.
1.30pm - 3pm Northland's top Kapa Haka groups perform at the Whare Runanga. Special mass Haka performance by the kaihoe (paddlers) of the Mai Pewhairangi waka movement led by Wiremu Wiremu.
All day Between 15 and 20 waka will be on the water throughout the day. During high tide in the afternoon Ngatokimatawhaorua, New Zealand's largest ceremonial canoe will make an appearance as well (weather depending).