Waitangi: 'Non-Māori have nothing to fear and much to gain' - Hipkins

PM Chris Hipkins is joined by politicians across the political spectrum as they are welcomed on Treaty grounds.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has been welcomed at Te Whare Rūnanga on the Upper Treaty Grounds at Waitangi today.

He was accompanied by politicians from all parliamentary parties, and entered with National leader Christopher Luxon.

The weather has turned overnight to more typical Waitangi weekend weather, with politicians and haukāinga (hosts) donning sun hats and fans.

Pōwhiri are traditional welcome ceremonies, steeped in tikanga, where speaking rights are usually only reserved for Māori orators.

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi took to the microphone and in te reo Māori said very few in Parliament spoke te reo but the language in the House should be "resounding".

ACT Party leader David Seymour delivered a speech in te reo Māori, drawing on notes occasionally.

In te reo Māori he said he did not agree with separating people.

"We believe in self determination, those who signed the Treaty would have agreed with our party perhaps."

He conceded some may have disagreed.

The crowd audibly murmured after Seymour's speech, which went for about four minutes entirely in te reo Māori.

'We are one nation'

National Party leader Christopher Luxon, speaking in te reo, gave a short mihi before switching to English.

He said over time the Treaty was not upheld, and those who signed it were trying to navigate towards a more stable and prosperous nation.

He said the Treaty was an “imperfect but ultimately inspiring document," and that the country was better, more open and more tolerant because of the Treaty.

Luxon said he was impressed by Māori business and enterprise and acknowledged the cost of living challenges were impacting all New Zealanders.

“We have endless potential.

“We’re all invested in each others success because we’re in it together.”

He said Crown and Māori had created an enduring relationship based on faith and trust.

“Together we are one nation.”

'Far too many broken promises' in NZ's history - Hipkins

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was the next to speak, during which he said a whakataukī (proverb) in te reo before speaking in English.

He joked about his “unequivocal invitation” to speak at Waitangi, referencing some confusion about whether he could speak yesterday.

Hipkins acknowledged his predecessor Jacinda Ardern and her relationship with the late Māori activist Titewhai Harawira.

“We miss her [Harawira] here today.”

He said there were “far too many broken promises” in New Zealand's history and that should be confronted not just on Waitangi Day.

Hipkins said he was proud of his role as Education Minister in boosting the New Zealand history curriculum.

He said Waitangi was an opportunity to commemorate a significant milestone in New Zealand history.

“I believe that that role of leaders is to light the path forward.”

He went on to say some debate was characterised by certainty and fear.

He would never accept inequitable health, education and economic outcomes.

“We non-Māori have nothing to fear and much to gain.”

Politicians have six minutes speaking time each to talk on the theme 'he iwi tahi tātou', meaning 'we are one people'.