It was more a battle of gentle nods, arched eyebrows and hints than swords in the battle of who could say what and when at Waitangi.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spoken on Te Whare Runanga on the Treaty grounds for four years running, but this year the women leaders of other parties were told they could not speak during the politicians' pōwhiri.
Male MPs were chosen to speak for them instead. That is tikanga on many marae: but appears to be somewhat elastic at Waitangi, given women leaders have spoken there in the past.
It takes quite a lot for National Party leader Judith Collins to let anybody else speak on her behalf: but she quietly abided by the decision of the Waitangi Trust and let her deputy Shane Reti do the honours.
It was not until after Ngāpuhi elder Waihoroi Shortland stood to say the women leaders would be allowed to speak next year that Collins first gave the thumbs-up and then voiced her disappointment that she had not been allowed.
All sides politely ignored one rather obvious issue: it could be moot next year, for it is not quite certain Collins will still be leader.
It was, however, rubbing salt in National's wounds. National were arriving with their tails between their legs after an election drubbing that reduced them to having just two Māori MPs: Reti and Simon Bridges. The party had also lost its supposedly safe Northland and Whangarei seats.
In an apparent show of contrition, Collins had also just announced the party would start to stand in Māori electorates: a stark reversal of its previous position to abolish the seats.
Bridges did not go to Waitangi, despite being the Crown-Māori Relations spokesman.
The year before, Bridges had spoken as leader and was criticised for being overtly political.
In that regard, it later transpired others had also felt constrained in what they could say at that pōwhiri.
Act leader David Seymour claimed there had been an agreement with Labour's Kelvin Davis not to use the pōwhiri for political comment.
Seymour duly behaved, delivering a short, thoughtful speech on the power and meaning of the Treaty grounds and Treaty.
However, he cried foul after Ardern's speech, in which she spoke about the efforts of the Government on Maori issues, her own party's success in the election and announced a date for the first Matariki holiday.
Seymour more than made up for his restraint in a media standup straight afterward.
He took aim at Ardern for announcing a public holiday rather than anything that would address bigger issues facing Maori.
He had a go at the Ministry of Education officials, saying from his time in charge of charter schools he had found them to be "all idiots".
Then he suggested Queen's Birthday should be dumped to make way for a Matariki holiday, rather than add a further public holiday.
He said this as he stood in the cool shade of a large tree on the Treaty grounds: the tree with a plaque saying it had been planted by Queen Elizabeth in 1953.
This was pointed out and he said "well, look how big it is. The size of it shows she's been there too long."
Waitangi is a time for debate about constitutional issues, after all.