In May 2008 Māori gathered at Ngāruawāhia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Kīngitanga, or Māori King movement. The current king, Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, is the seventh Māori monarch. He was crowned on 21 August 2006, following the death on 15 August of his mother, Te Arikinui Dame Te Ātairangikaahu. The longest serving Māori monarch, she had celebrated the 40th jubilee of her coronation on 23 May 2006.
The Māori King movement is seen as an important and enduring expression of Māori unity and today holds an established place in New Zealand society. This has not always been the case, however. In the Waikato War of the 1860s the government attempted to destroy the movement, which it considered a threat to the authority of the British Crown.