A Covid-influenced Waitangi Day dawn ceremony may have started a new tradition on New Zealand's national day.
The ceremony, which started at 5am and was attended by hundreds of people, was done completely outside - a significant shift from previous years when a portion of the ceremony was done inside Te Whare Rūnanga marae.
The change was largely made thanks to Covid-19, as organisers were advised against gatherings in small, confined areas.
However, many of the ceremony's integral figures saw the change as a positive one.
"Having an open air ceremony was important to us," Waitangi National Trust chairman Pita Tipene said.
"Everybody feels a little bit more into it."
Tipene described the feeling among tangata whenua and Government officials as "upbeat" and recognised how lucky we were to have created a sanctuary where Covid hadn't overtaken us.
"Looking out at everyone is really special, singing together, the hymns and the waiata, is really unifying."
Tipene said he would advocate for future ceremonies to be held outside - as long as the weather was suitable.
Bishop Te Kītohi Wiremu Pikaahu, who officiated the hour long service, was pleased with how the ceremony went, saying the positive spirit of Waitangi was gaining momentum.
"Because the Prime Minister, her delegation, Government ministers, they come in the spirit of unity."
He referenced the range of political and religious leaders who spoke more than seven languages excluding reo Māori and English.
He said the open air format worked really well and he believed it should be continued for every following Waitangi Day ceremony.
"We didn't want to lock people in [Te Whare Rūnanga] and there be a risk, but out here is fine. It was a great opportunity for people to witness it."
The ceremony was followed by a huge demand for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cooked breakfast where an estimated 2500 people lined up for kai.
Joined by many of her ministers, Ardern served hundreds of people bacon, sausages and hash browns.
A cool morning provided a pleasant experience for the thousands celebrating Aotearoa's national day at the birthplace of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi).
Later in the morning, a fleet of waka left the foreshore at Waitangi and joined up with junior kaihoe (paddlers) before they converged on the beach in front of Te Tii marae.
The kaihoe then performed a rousing mass haka in front of hundreds of enthralled onlookers.
At 10am, Pikaahu opened the Interdenominational church service at Te Whare Rūnanga to hundreds of people.
The morning's initial chill had since worn off as the sun beat down hard on those sampling the fun of Waitangi Day in Tai Tokerau