As it happened: Waitangi Day 2024 commemorations

5:17 pm on 6 February 2024
Heavy traffic around Waitangi during 2024 commemorations.

Heavy traffic around Waitangi during 2024 commemorations. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Tens of thousands flocked to Waitangi for the annual commemoration this year, with a solemn dawn service, the return of the Hīkoi and gridlocked traffic.

With an estimated 40,000 people attending commemorations today, the traffic around Waitangi became gridlocked this afternoon.

While official numbers are still to be released, a Treaty grounds staffer told RNZ that it had been estimated that there had been 80,000 visitors for the duration of the festival, with the crowd yesterday being four times bigger than usual for 5 February.

The number of visitors caused traffic chaos in the area today, with anecdotal reports of some reckless driving as some motorists tried to get clear of the jam.

Earlier today there was a solemn dawn service themed on unity and love, along with the annual waka parade and the return of the Waitangi Day Hīkoi.

The Hīkoi group of about 1000 chanted 'Hīkoi mo te Tiriti' - March for the Treaty - as they reached the Treaty Grounds earlier this afternoon.

See how the events of the day unfolded with RNZ's blog:

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