The 180th anniversary of Te Tiriti o Waitangi brought whānau, kai, waiata, and lots of aroha to Ōhinemutu today.

Thousands came to For the Love of the People, between 10am and 3pm.

Tūnohopū Marae Trust chairwoman Norma Sturley said it was a "beautiful" sight and she hadn't expected quite so many to arrive.

The event stemmed from the Aronui Māori Market at the pā in September last year.

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The stalls and play areas stretched from the Lakefront to the edge of Utuhina Stream.

They included a live mural display, talks, te reo sessions, cooking demos, a Tū Kaha Jiu-Jitsu display, bouncy castles, kūmara planting, digital learning, and a hauora area.

Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Rangiwewehi, at Waitangi Day at Ōhinemutu. Photo / Stephen Parker
Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Rangiwewehi, at Waitangi Day at Ōhinemutu. Photo / Stephen Parker
Waitangi Day in Rotorua.

Visitors were taken on tours and waka rides.

Bands, DJs, films and even a fashion show entertained on the stages.

Rotorua woman Leanne Phillips saw "heaps of whānau" at the event "from in and out of town".

"Some of them I haven't seen in a long time."

Live mural display by Taumata Soloman. Photo / Stephen Parker
Live mural display by Taumata Soloman. Photo / Stephen Parker

She said the popularity of For the Love of the People was "really awesome" to see.

"People bringing the kids down, getting among all the entertainment and even just seeing our kauheke - the older ones in their wheelchairs being pushed around, covered up in their hats and that."

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She hoped the event would return for future years.

"Not just for Waitangi Day - more whānau days, more iwi initiatives and kaupapa bringing everyone back."

Cast members of 8 Scott Ave The Musical perform. Photo / Stephen Parker
Cast members of 8 Scott Ave The Musical perform. Photo / Stephen Parker

For Phillips, one of the highlights was meeting some of the cast of 8 Scott Ave The Musical and watching them perform.

Karena Te Awa-Bird came over from Maketū for the day.

"My grandparents are from here so I have definitely got to come back."

Waitangi Day in Rotorua.

She enjoyed watching friends perform with their kapa haka groups and "getting kai".

The day opened and closed with karakia.

For the Love of the People at Ōhinemutu village. Photo / Stephen Parker
For the Love of the People at Ōhinemutu village. Photo / Stephen Parker