The Governor-General will mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by visiting the historic Mangungu Mission in Hokianga today - the first time a Queen's representative has visited the Wesleyan mission house since Lieutenant Governor William Hobson oversaw the signing of the Treaty there on February 12, 1840.

The mission was the site of the largest signing ceremony as the Treaty was taken around the country in 1840.

Sir Jerry Mateparae will travel to the event after being welcomed on to Te Tii Marae this morning.

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua said the Governor-General would be asked who he believed he was responsible to. "I don't know whether he is representing Maori or the Crown. That is a question he will be asked - where does he stand in terms of Te Tiriti o Waitangi?"


Labour MPs, including leader Andrew Little, are also expected to attend the event at Mangungu. A smaller ceremony will be held on February 12 - the day the mission usually commemorates the signing.

Mangungu Mission manager Mita Harris said it would be a special occasion and the table on which the Treaty was signed would have a central role.

"Historically, the signing of the Treaty at Mangungu had a large impact on the community. About 70 rangatira, who subsequently signed the Treaty, gathered at the mission and between 2000 and 3000 Maori attended on the day, making it easily the largest signing of the Treaty."

However, there could be an edge to the ceremony. Mr Harris said elders would have a message for the Governor-General. That could relate to a Waitangi Tribunal finding late last year that Ngapuhi chiefs did not cede sovereignty by signing the Treaty -- something the Government has played down.