Waitangi Day celebrations have started early in Manawatu with families sharing food, schools opening sandpits and children signing their own treaties.
Schools and early childhood centres in Palmerston North shared karakia and kai, or prayer and food, to mark Waitangi Day early yesterday.
Among them was West End Kindergarten, where preschoolers have spent the week learning about the significance of Waitangi Day.
The kindergarten was in the process of reviewing its philosophy and called on the children to add some points they wanted to be incorporated.
Teacher Mel Kenzie said children talked about what is special about living in New Zealand, past conflicts, and how they were overcome.
The children worked with teachers to develop a West End Kindergarten treaty identifying 10 points that helped everyone work together at kindy.
"We started talking about what makes kindergarten a nice place to be, and we wrote down all their ideas," Kenzie said.
The points included promises such as "Atawhai - we use kind words and kind ideas", "Kawenga - we show responsibility" and "Matatika - we pick, play and put away."
The treaty was then "signed" yesterday using the children's handprints as part of the formalities.
Each child sat down with a teacher and talked about the points on their treaty before adding their handprint.
"It's a big concept for little ones to take on," Kenzie said.
"But we were thinking about how can we make it relevant for them and how to create more of an understanding among our young people.
"This is important to the children to know."