The Tauranga Moana Waitangi Day Festival took over the Historic Village on Wednesday for a family friendly day-long event that also included the citizens ceremony for Tauranga's latest New Zealanders.
Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell told the audience that the Treaty has "immense importance" as Aotearoa's founding document.
"It's also important that it should be a living document which guides the way we work together for the betterment of all."
Iwi representative Buddy Mikaere told Local Focus that Waitangi Day "needs to be more than it has been in the past here in Tauranga".
"Once upon a time Waitangi Day was all about protests and that kind of thing. The great work done by the Waitangi Tribunal in settling Treaty claims means we now have something to actually celebrate so that's what the day is designed to do – is to celebrate that."