LEADERS from across the political spectrum offered prayers at the service on Thursday morning at the upper marae on the Waitangi treaty grounds in the north of the North Island.
Both Prime Minister John Key and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira have paid tribute to the late Labour MP Parekura Horomia, who died in April last year.
Many of those who were outside for the duration of the service had umbrellas and jackets, while others huddled under trees.
Mr Key has brushed off any criticism of him leaving on a trip to Australia on Waitangi Day for bilateral meetings with Tony Abbott.
“Unfortunately my job’s complicated and I have lots of bits to it,” he said.
“I try and fit in as much in as I possibly can, but in a practical sense, that was the date the Australians gave us.”
Mr Key left on Thursday afternoon, after most of the events at Waitangi had concluded.