Far North Mayor Moko Tepania has urged all New Zealanders to visit Waitangi, saying it's "home for every single New Zealander".
On Breakfast this morning, Tepania said speaking at today's dawn service was "a really special moment".
"I wasn't nervous until I got up to the lectern, and then I couldn't actually see, it was so dark I couldn't read the words," he said.
"But it was really special looking out and seeing so many people welcomed back to Waitangi, coming out of Covid and being able to open the doors of our district to everyone again has been really cool."
He added that Waitangi Day is "a good check-in".
"I know we've got the greatest country in the world, but what more can we do?
"Our tupuna had this agreement and it said this, where are we at in this space? It's always a really good reminder."
Asked what he would say to New Zealanders who hadn't visited the site, Tepania said: "You need to come up to Waitangi.
"Once you come here at least once, you'll experience it for the first time and then you'll be coming back home.
"Waitangi is the home for every single New Zealander, and that's the honest truth."
And Waitangi Day at the Treaty Grounds is a "festival" and a "celebration", he stressed.
"It's such a special, momentous day."