Waitangi week brings all sorts of characters to Shane Jones' party, and PM Jacinda Ardern plays second fiddle to her father, Ross.
Shane Jones' Party:
The recent case of Covid-19 in Northland meant numbers were well down for the politicians' powhiri at Waitangi on Thursday, but it takes a lot to spoil Shane and wife Dot Jones' Waitangi party.
The party was nearly scrapped after NZ First's election defeat, but Jones told those assembled that party leader Winston Peters had encouraged it to go ahead.
About 250 people gathered for spit roast, kaimoana and an occasional salad.
For many, it was the first glimpse of Peters since the election, although no photos of the man were allowed and he spent most the night holding court in a quiet spot out the back.
He seemed in fine enough fettle.
The party always includes an eclectic mix of people: The karakia before the kai was by Bishop Brian Tamaki. Hone Harawira turned up.
There was a slight hint of "out of sight, out of mind" from Jones' former coalition colleagues. Only a few Labour MPs turned up - including David Parker, Willie Jackson, Kelvin Davis and Trevor Mallard - and even fewer National MPs (none), apart from former Northland MP Matt King.
Former NZ First MPs included Tracey Martin and Jenny Marcroft, who recently quit the party. Martin reported that she is writing a romance novel.
The party even had its own QR codes for the Covid app.
Which Ardern is famous?:
It's not often Ross Ardern outshines his daughter any more, but he did at Waitangi.
Ross Ardern was there for the pōwhiri on Thursday, and the first few speakers paid more attention to him than the PM, singling him out and singing his praises for his leadership in the Mormon Church.
"He was a leader throughout the Pacific," one said. The speaker then invited Ross Ardern to the service that Sunday.
Ardern the Younger – who left the church for its stance on homosexuality - grinned, and got some laughs when she started her own speech by noting the number of Mormons speaking opposite her.
Yes, Prime Minister:
Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan learned the hard way it pays not to stand too close to the Prime Minister when she is out and about.
At Ruapekapeka Pā, the PM promised Ruapekapeka chair Pita Tipene to look into a way to commemorate the Māori fallen from the 1846 battle, after unveiling a monument to the British dead.
"You can look after that, minister," she said to Allan, who stood beside her. Allan pulled out her phone to note it down, quipping "it's getting to be a pretty long list".
Ardern had already delegated to Allan a promise to get better signs telling the story of Ruapekapeka and to look into possible prosecutions after hearing people had been using metal detectors to excavate cannonballs at the site.
It may not have been a coincidence that Allan stood further back in the pack of MPs around Ardern after that.
Dame Patsy Reddy farewells Waitangi:
Dame Patsy delivered a poignant final speech as Governor-General in Waitangi, noting she hoped to return in a private capacity after her term ends in August.
She then had to attend to the lasting reminder of her time as Governor-General: The tree she had planted on the Treaty grounds in 2018.
Each Governor-General has planted a tree on the grounds, as did the Queen, in 1953. But Reddy's tree had a tough 2020: It was run over by a car.
She planted a new one before leaving the grounds.