Jacinda Ardern, trailing wardens, security guards, police, media and fans, walked into the paddock with all the market stalls. On the stage up the top end, local singer Huia Shortland swung her way into Redemption Song. It was Bob Marley's birthday today, too.

Ardern was on walkabout at Waitangi. The market was over the road from the formal Treaty grounds, and after the song the MC announced it was the first time any Prime Minister had visited the market on Waitangi Day.

It is an age of firsts, although Ardern is not the first Prime Minister to promise a new beginning on Waitangi Day, and she is not the first to attract enthusiastic fans wanting selfies. But she probably is the first where, everytime she stops for a selfie, there is a young girl, maybe waiting with her mum or dad, or there's a cluster of grinning girls, standing on the edge of the little crowd of fans. Some just wondering and admiring, others working up the courage to get in there and get a selfie themselves.

Many do. Many more let the moment pass, happy to have been close, or maybe kicking themselves. Note to everyone: just do that thing. She likes it.


Double takes of recognition, blushes, giggles, feet shuffling forward. The men do it too. The buzz goes round. The Prime Minister! Jacinda! Jacinta! Whatever they call her, they adore her.

And that's no less true of the 8-year-olds than of those in their 80s. The kuia line up, laughing, and pull her to them.

Everyone likes to touch Jacinda Ardern. The diplomatic protection squad had to rethink the protocols. It's fine. They seem quite fond of her too.

Waitangi has been good for Ardern. She and the Ngapuhi spokespeople have treated each other as new-found besties. There's been demonstrable respect, goodwill and above all warmth, in every speech, every conversation in the food queues, every stall in that market.

Ardern came here and said there was work to do and asked to be held to account, and she made it sound like a real thing. In fact, Waitangi has been so good for Jacinda Ardern, nothing may measure up ever again.

She got a tattoo stamped on her arm. There were a thousand photos, a thousand earnest, eager, excited pieces of advice. The sun beat down and she stayed out in it, on her feet and hatless, for much of the morning.

At the end of the walkabout she said, "Last words? There are no last words. I'm coming back."

That may be true for everyone else too. There were a few thousand today. Next year, mark your calendar now, there will be many, many more.