MPs make their annual pilgrimage to Ratana Pa tomorrow, joining the three-day celebrations and attending the main political curtainraiser of the year.
Political leaders descend near Wanganui every January to commemorate the birth of the founder of the religious movement, Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.
National and Labour parties won't be competing for attention at the event this year since, unlike the usual protocol, the parties will be attending on different days. Government will be there on Friday with over 20 MPs, while Labour and Maori parties will attend Sunday celebrations.
Prime Minister John Key, who is looking forward to making the trip back to Ratana, said Friday was the most suitable day.
He will be taking the opportunity to talk about past achievements and future plans.
"We've made significant progress in the last 12 months in a number of areas, including treaty negotiation, and obviously our relationship with the Maori Party was another important step forward in improving the race relations in New Zealand," Mr Key said.
"I think there are a number of areas that are important to Maori that we are discussing, obviously listing the economic achievements and improving the lot of Maori New Zealanders. We will want to talk about programmes and plans we have for that."
The Labour Party said it were invited to attend both days, but opted for Sunday only, wanting to focus more on their relationship with the people rather than the politics.
"Most of the people will be there on Sunday and only a few of the people will be there on Friday," Labour leader Phil Goff said. "There is a big Northland delegation I've been talking to and they said we don't arrive there until Saturday, so Sunday is the day in which there will be the greatest attendance."
Mr Goff said his speech will address future challenges concerning Maori, such as how to overcome the problem of underachievement in education.
Labour is looking at strengthening its relationship with Ratana with ongoing visits, he said.
"It's an important historical relationship, but it's more important than that. It's an ongoing relevant relationship because both Ratana and Labour have a shared commitment to T W Ratana's vision for a fairer society."
Green and ACT parties will not be attending.