Former Prime Minister Helen Clark engaged in a hilarious Twitter exchange with a user who tried to call her out over her Waitangi Day attendance.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has a Hongi with then-14-year-old Tuterangi Whiu at Waitangi in 2006. Photo / NZPA
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has a Hongi with then-14-year-old Tuterangi Whiu at Waitangi in 2006. Photo / NZPA

The debate started when Simon Bridges shared a tweet of himself spending Waitangi Day with his family in Tauranga — which prompted former Labour electoral candidate Sam McDonald to the call National Party leader "pathetic" for not spending the day at Waitangi.

A Twitter user, Paul, joined the debate asking: "I assume you are implying the 4.8m of us that didn't spend the day at Waitangi, but with our extended whanau, are pathetic?"

McDonald refuted the sentiment and said it didn't apply to the rest of New Zealand as they are not vying to be the next Prime Minister.

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Then-Prime Minister Helen Clark walking on to the Karetu Marae in the southern Bay of Islands, accompanied by cabinet minister Nanaia Mahuta, left and Dover Samuels. Photo / NZPA
Then-Prime Minister Helen Clark walking on to the Karetu Marae in the southern Bay of Islands, accompanied by cabinet minister Nanaia Mahuta, left and Dover Samuels. Photo / NZPA

Another user, Tim, jumped in and tried to drag Clark through the mud by asking McDonald how many times she attended Waitangi.

She responded with: "From my recollection. - 6/6 years as Leader of the Opposition and 8/9 years as Prime Minister."

According to Herald reports, due to protests and threats, Clark did not attend Waitangi in 2000 and 2001.

Tim tried to gain higher ground and asked Clark why she wasn't there in 2009 when she was PM.

But his attempt to make the Labour leader look bad backfired when Clark came back with: "I was not PM in 2009. I ceased being PM very shortly after Labour did not win the 8 November 2008 general election."

Clarke's tweet was praised by many, with some labelling a "burn".

, Clark celebrated Waitangi Day on Onuku Marae, where South Island chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

She also attended a range of arts, cultural and sports events around the country over the weekend, a mix she sees as "defining the nation New Zealand is becoming" in the new millennium.

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In 2001, Clark spent a low-key Waitangi Day, attending family and multicultural celebrations in Wellington and Auckland.