Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received a spine tingling welcome from Taranaki Māori as the nation took another step towards reconciling New Zealand's turbulent past.
Thousands of people huddled out of heavy rain at Waitara's Owae Marae on Monday as guests including government ministers, iwi leaders from around the country mark the nation's land wars.
While the visitors took shelter from the wet weather under the umbrellas, the hundreds of performers weren't deterred and gave them a rousing reception using traditional weapons.
While the commemoration will specifically reflect on battles near the town of Taranaki, remembering what happened around the region and the country during the New Zealand wars between 1845 and 1872 will also be in focus.
* Knowledge and understanding of NZ wars and the pathway to reconciliation
* New Zealand history to be taught in schools by 2022, says PM Jacinda Ardern
* Time to tell our stories
The first shots were fired in the Taranaki war on March 17, 1860 after Te Atiawa rangatira Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake
Ardern said she had never experienced a welcome like it.
She described the scene as "hugely powerful" and "the beginning of a conversation, the chance to talk about our history, to talk about parts of Aotearoa's story that just haven't been told as much as they should, and, I hope "Where is history taught widely."
Asked whether a national day of significance should be established, Ardern said the most important thing.
Last month Ardern and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins announced that New Zealand history will be taught by all schools and lots by 2022.
The curriculum would include key aspects of the nation's history, including the arrival of Māori to Aotearoa New Zealand, early colonial history and the Treaty of Waitangi / Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Ardern said teaching children were the best way to make sure the events of the past were remembered.
"Days of Commemoration, yes they are important, but it doesn't mean that we build understanding.
"Putting the teaching of New Zealand into a school.
The prime minister said that the younger generation had been to learn about their history.
We We shouldn't leave it to an enthusiastic history teacher. Should And we should feel assured that next generation is going to learn a way that perhaps past generations haven't . "
Academic Dr Ruakere Hond, an advocate of Te Reo Māori, said the initiative was another step towards healing the past.
"This is a way to recognize Taranaki and what we have been through," Hond said.
"Not many people know about the background of Taranaki, what took place within Taranaki."
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, chief executive of the Taranaki-based Ngāti Ruanui iwi, said October 28 was a significant date for Māori.
It was the date of He Wakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni, the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand, which was signed by a number of Māori chiefs in 1835.
"It was an extremely emotional day before the Treaty, when it was represented, we were very self-determined," said Ngarewa-Packer.
She gave Kudos to the organizers for bringing everyone together.
"Aotearoa in a nation that we are becoming more balanced and reconciled.
"In order to go forward together we actually need and want to be able to share out history – the good, the bad and the ugly."
Rangi Kipa, Ngati Tawhirikura Hapu, who was hopefully the commemoration of what was happening.
"While it's a commemoration, it's an opportunity to move forward, so we can actually move forward," Kipa said.
"It's an opportunity for our people to get their taonga out and show them."
New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom
"The scars of these crimes are worn by all the people in here."
Holdom also wanted to see New Zealand history taught in schools.
On Tuesday a dawn ceremony would be held at Te Kōhia Pā followed by a second ceremony at the Waitara.
The commemoration will finish on Wednesday morning with closing comments and a feast.