Political speeches have begun as thousands continue to flood into Rātana Pā as centenary celebrations for the church get into full swing in warm conditions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and delegation of MPs from all parties bar ACT were officially welcomed to Ratana shortly before 4pm and have now begun to address the congregation.

Ardern arrived, bearing a "koha" of almost $2 million to fund housing for the Māori settlement.

Ardern made the joint announcement with Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta of a $1.9m investment in Rātana Pa for housing infrastructure.

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The Prime Minister said there was "so much history between Ratana and my Labour family".

"Building wellbeing for people is where we connect."

Soon after arriving, Ardern offered to give up her place to a young boy.

"Do you want to do that instead of me?" she said to the boy, as she prepared to speak to media before being formally welcomed.

Up to 25,000 people are expected in the village over the coming days.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern being escorted onto the Ratana Marae for her speech. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern being escorted onto the Ratana Marae for her speech. Photo / Mark Mitchell

She was surrounded by Ratana faithful and curious children hoping for a glimpse as she made her way to the powhiri.

And she took time to answer questions from children at the Rangitahi Village.

Security seems relaxed despite Ardern's admission today of having received death threats from an anti-1080 protester.

National's contingent arrived with less fanfare before being taken into the temple.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meeting children during her visit to Ratana. Photo / Mark Mitchell.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meeting children during her visit to Ratana. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

In the heat of the afternoon and watched on by a small crowd, Ardern, National leader Simon Bridges, Greens co-leader Marama Davidson and NZ First MP Shane Jones and a contingent of MPs were welcomed.

Those at Ratana's centennary celebrations today, ahead of the main event tomorrow - the date prophet TW Ratana was said to have received a vision - are less interested in the formal part of the day.

As the afternoon has worn on, and as the procession readied for the powhiri, the crowd has thinned out and is mainly older people who sit under the marquees to hear the speeches.

Powhiri have been held all morning as different groups are welcomed to Rātana under a hot sun with temperatures expected to hit 25C today.

Bridges, who was the first of the party leaders to speak, told the crowd it was an honour to speak at the celebrations.

He said that as the son of a Baptist "preacher man", he could identify with the the story of TW Ratana as his father had a similar calling.

"I am told today, that my whānau, the Hetets, were part of building that temple, and that gives me a connection, a strength of feeling here before you today."

Bridges also acknowleged the relationship between Labour and Ratana.

He joked that local National MP for Rangitikei Ian McKelvie received one vote from this area, and that was from someone who was lost.

"But we have had a practical relationship, you and my party. A relationship that has been built on doing things. The houses here in this village, in 1950, that we supported, through to the insulation, the making them healthy here not so long ago when I was here as minister of energy," Bridges said.

"We've got things done."

Political speeches will be followed by a church service and live entertainment later this evening.

Hope Pihema has been a Rātana follower her whole life, going to church every week in Northland.

But this is her first trip to the birthplace of the church, coming down with 50 others by bus on Tuesday.

"It's interesting as, hot as a heaps of people. It's the first time I've come here but I've always wanted to come. I like the temple."

With Rātana swelling to the size of a small city emergency services have stationed staff on site for the week.

Fire and Emergency Station officer Carl Moon said it was mainly about access in the event of an emergency with so many more people and vehicles in the area. No incidents have been reported so far.

Jacinda Ardern and Raniera Pene during their walk around. Photo / Zaryd Wilson.
Jacinda Ardern and Raniera Pene during their walk around. Photo / Zaryd Wilson.

The housing investment announced by Ardern and Mahuta today was about building a healthy community, not just healthy homes, the Prime Minister said.

"The $1.9 million investment will support the development of 26 sections on Māori freehold land for whānau to build on, and live in new homes," Jacinda Ardern said.

"This is just the start - phase two of the investment will see $1.7 million invested in the future to develop a further 34 sections."

When Ardern last visited in January this year, church leaders offered her a middle name for her yet-to-be-born daughter.

Rātana chair Andre Mason said the gift for her baby was of a middle name - Te Waru. It means 'eight' and is a reference to the 8th of November 1918 - the date the prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana had the divine revelation that led to his founding of the Ratana Church.

After the powhiri, Rātana spokesman Piri Rurawhe said it was significant for the Church to bestow that name as a gift. "It's the first time I've heard of a child being named Te Waru so it's absolutely appropriate I think."

Eventually, the Prime Minister and partner Clarke Gayford settled on the name Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford.

Other ministers as well as National Party leader Simon Bridges, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, and NZ First MP Shane Jones were also expected to attend today, marking 100 years since prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana is said to have received a divine revelation from which the Rātana Church was born.

Between 15,000 and 25,000 people are expected to attend the five-day celebration, which culminates on Thursday, the 100th anniversary to the day Rātana is said to have received a message from the Holy Spirit.

PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN MEETING CHILDREN DURING HER VISIT TO RATANA. 07 November, 2018. NZ Herald photograph by Mark Mitchell
PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN MEETING CHILDREN DURING HER VISIT TO RATANA. 07 November, 2018. NZ Herald photograph by Mark Mitchell

Ratana went on to found the church in 1925.

Te Tai Hauauru MP, Rātana local and great grandson of T.W. Ratana, Adrian Rurawhe said the centenary was an exciting time.

"I think, most significantly for us, is we are celebrating 100 years but we're also looking to the future and I'm really proud of our young people who have played a significant role in the organisation."

Rurawhe said the number were significantly more than the annual church celebrations, with followers from as far as Australia coming to the pa for the first time.

"I'm really optimistic about the church's future," Rurawhe said.