Inwardly Winston Peters would have been as furious as the stamping, face-pulling warriors confronting him.

The New Zealand First leader walked on to the upper Waitangi marae right alongside Simon Bridges who said just a couple of days earlier he wouldn't have a bar of working with him after the upcoming election.

It wasn't even possible for Peters to shuffle Jacinda Ardern into the middle, as she was busy holding the hand of a kuia who was being wheeled on to the marae as part of the official procession.


Not surprisingly they didn't acknowledge each other but what Bridges said in his set piece speech was more than the old warhorse could bear. The National leader told the Māori crowd more than once the Government hasn't delivered and that as Prime Minister he'd have a four-lane highway built between Auckland and Whangarei.

Even for Bridges that'd be a long way to roll a pork barrel. It'd be right up there with the 10 bridges he once promised as Transport Minister to rebuild in the Northland byelection that Peters won five years ago.

Peters apparently wasn't planning to speak but was so incensed he got to his feet and told the crowd that Bridges' super highway would take 68 years to build and doubted whether the youthful Nat would be around to see completed.

The old campaigner had a point but then lost it by quoting Elvis, who apparently hasn't left the marae, at least in his mind, who he told Bridges would say: "If you're looking for trouble, you've come to the right place." But then he attacked his nemesis for politicising Waitangi by trampling over the significance of the event.

It's certainly not the first time that's happened there and it won't be the last.

And earlier in the day Jacinda Ardern wasn't beyond politicising the event herself. In her speech she talked about how her Government had delivered to Māori, yes it was the year of, and they did it. But the example she used could have raised the taiaha, especially of you were one of those who had been chosen by the Beehive.

Ardern proudly proclaimed they'd ensured that all of our District Health Boards are now made up of at least 20 per cent of Māori, saying that thanks to their appointments for the first time the boards fully represent the Māori people. They could be in for a short lived job though, considering they're currently reviewing the very existence of the poorly performing boards where it seems a budget's there to be blown.