Waitangi Day 2016 has been a day largely dominated by family, festivities and fun - a stark contrast to the past few days where political squabble has been the agenda.

It was heralded in with a dawn ceremony at Waitangi where elders said prayers, politicians gave their respects to the Treaty - Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell talked politics -- and the national anthem was sung.

The 600 people who had attended then watched as the flag was raised to the sound of bagpipes and the sun rose above the horizon.

They were also treated with clear skies instead of the rain which had hosed down in the days prior.

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Paul and Tracey Clarke who attended the service with their children said it was "moving".

Mr Clark said it had been appropriate given the difference in opinion around the country about the Treaty.

"I thought it was dealt with quite well and quite compassionately really."

Steven Joyce leaves the Treaty Grounds after the service. Photo / Michael Craig
Steven Joyce leaves the Treaty Grounds after the service. Photo / Michael Craig

Already, on the grounds down below, stall holders were setting up tents and getting the market ready.

Shortly after 8.30am, waka took off from the landing on the lower Treaty grounds.

Five waka paddled out and around the shore to come to a rest on the beach in front of Te Tii Marae and 300 onlookers.

It was a highlight for many including those paddling.

A waka arrives at Te Tii Marae beach. Photo / Michael Craig
A waka arrives at Te Tii Marae beach. Photo / Michael Craig

Paddler William Catterall, who is soon to join the waka crew, said it was an honour to take part in today's Waitangi celebrations.

"We do it to honour our ancestors and keep our traditions alive."

Waitangi Day dawn service, The Treaty Grounds. Photo / Michael Craig
Waitangi Day dawn service, The Treaty Grounds. Photo / Michael Craig

After Labour leader Andrew Little's walk around the market, a planned hikoi with around 200 participants marched from the lower Marae to the upper Treaty grounds before entering the Marae boundary.

They held talks about the TPP.

Before entering the Marae, the leader of the group turned and told all those behind "we are still under tikanga" so protesters would need to behave -- and they did.

Anti TPPA protestors Hikoi from Te Tii Marae to the Waitangi Treaty grounds. Photo / Michael Craig
Anti TPPA protestors Hikoi from Te Tii Marae to the Waitangi Treaty grounds. Photo / Michael Craig

Now the politics of Waitangi seem to be finished with and the day has been left for those who have attended to enjoy.