Descendants of opposing sides in a bloody conflict 175 years ago have been brought closer by three days of remembrance, event organisers say.
From Friday to Sunday, more than 1000 people took part in commemorations marking the anniversary of the Battle of Te Ruapekapeka, the final engagement of the 1845-46 Northern War.
While the outcome of the battle was inconclusive, its ripples continue to be felt today because it pitched not only Māori against Pākehā but also Māori against Māori.
Commemorations committee chairman Albert Cash said the theme, Kawea a Puriri Mai, spoke of reverence, remembrance, respect and reconciliation.
''I think we saw the strands of that being connected over the three days. People impacted by events similar to Te Ruapekapeka have come from all over the country. I think we've come closer, and I'm chuffed about that.''
Cash said the commemorations were also a lead-up to February 3 when hapū would be joined at Ruapekapeka Pā, south of Kawakawa, by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the British High Commissioner to honour the recently rediscovered graves of British soldiers who died in the battle.
Event coordinator Huhana Lyndon said the ''jam-packed'' three-day programme started with a series of pōwhiri at Kawiti Marae, at Waiomio, for about 1000 people from across the motu.
Waikato-Tainui, Tauranga Moana, Ngāti Pukenga and Ngāti Maniapoto were among the other iwi represented.
A series of wānanga in the evenings gave hapū from both sides of the palisades a chance to share their perspectives, Lyndon said.
''Having that open dialogue was great. There were a few hostilities here and there, a reminder there were different motivations behind the conflict.''
On day two, 11 buses took about 600 people on an ''epic'' tour of the whenua riri (battle sites), hosted by Ngāwhā Marae and the hapū of each site.
On Sunday, remembrance day, people brought photos of ancestors involved in the conflict and also remembered Allan Halliday, the Te Ruapekapeka Trust chairman who died just before Christmas.
The day also featured a flag raising ceremony at the pā, a rousing haka pōwhiri by the group Te Tira Taua, and speeches by MPs Willow-Jean Prime and Kelvin Davis, former minister Shane Jones, Ngāpuhi academic Hone Sadler and Ngāti Hine leader Waihoroi Shortland.
Shortland's speech had the crowd in stitches but he also had serious points to make about nationhood and conflict, saying war was short-term and what happened next mattered more.
''After one year of war what did we do with the 175 years of peace that followed?''
Pita Tipene, interim chairman of Te Ruapekapeka Trust, said he had heard nothing but positive feedback about the event, and Māori and Pākehā alike had told him they felt a real sense of belonging.
''While it's important to look back, respect our ancestors and understand their motivations, it's also important to keep looking forward. That came through in all the speeches, waiata and haka,'' he said.
''Coming up to the bicentennial of the Treaty in 19 years' time we have to learn from mistakes but also learn why people were angry and why the conflict erupted, because we want to build a better world.''
Military history enthusiasts from the Black Powder Club also took part in the commemorations, setting up an 1840s-style British military camp with weapons and uniforms of the era.