The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed, on 6 February 1840. This day is now a public holiday in New Zealand. The Treaty is an agreement, in Māori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira
Ngapuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua said he wanted Government officials to front for discussions at the Maori Parliament.
''We see this place (Te Tii Marae) as our parliament. This is where we should start and begin issues, not in a hotel.''
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira earlier arrived in Waitangi with his wheel-chair bound mother.
The outspoken Northland MP said emotions were running high as Waitangi Day draws closer.
"This is Waitangi - this is a time when a lot of the issues around Maori rights, Treaty rights and indigenous rights come together. You can expect a whole range of emotions to be bought out here," Harawira said.
Prime Minister John Key is expected to address asset sales during Waitangi weekend.
The Crown is asking iwi how to recognise Treaty obligations when the state-owned power companies are put up for partial sale.
Mana Party earlier warned Prime Minster John Key will get a hostile reception at Waitangi as anger among Maori grows over Treaty of Waitangi rights and job losses at the Maori Affairs Ministry, Te Puni Kokiri (TPK).
However, Harawira today refused to be drawn on how disruptive potential protests could be.
"I don't know if we're planning on doing anything in a structured manner."
His mother Titewhai Harawira arrived at the powhiri in a wheel-chair due to a recent hip replacement.
The Maori activist reduced former Prime Minister Helen Clark to tears in 1998 by challenging her right to be there.
Key has vowed he will not face a similar fate this year.
Governor-General Jerry Mateparae also arrived at the Treaty grounds this morning with his wife Janine Mateparae.
Hundreds of tents have sprung up around Te Tii Marae, with children playing on the grass while their elders discuss politics.
Waitangi kaumatua Eruera Taurua said he is unsure whether the threats of protests will eventuate.
"So far so good. Everybody is looking forward to it. I hope there's no trouble."
In the kitchen hall, volunteers have more pressing issues at hand.
Kitchen volunteer Billie Taituha said her main focus is keeping the food coming, rather than the politics and protests.
A devoted team of dozens work from 5am until almost 11pm to satisfy the hungry guests.
"We start off from a mediocre 200 people and end up with about 1500 on Waitangi Day. It can go up to 2000 [people]," she said.
"We don't have any time to think about anything but how we are going to feed these people."
Yet there are signs of disquiet among some campers.
"A National shame: Only traitors sell their own country and our people's future", a banner reads on a protest van.
The occupants, Corney and Sharky Andrews, said they plan to hold a peaceful protest with placards on Waitangi Day.
"They're selling up our children's future. They're selling our farms off to the Chinese," Mr Andrews said.
Mrs Andrews said it would be a non-violent protest as she wanted parents to bring their children to Waitangi celebrations and feel safe