Mourners from around the country have begun travelling to the small Tai Rawhiti settlement of Tolaga Bay, to pay their final respects to Parekura Horomia.
The former Maori Affairs Minister will be farewelled at Hauiti Marae. He died on Monday at his home in Mangatuna.
A large contingent of Ngati Kahungunu gathered at Kohupatiki Marae in Hastings at midnight to catch buses to the tangi.
A spokesperson for the iwi said the delegation will be welcomed on to the marae after Mr Horomia's body is taken on at about 10am on Wednesday.
A big group of Waikato-Tainui led by King Tuheitia is expected on Wednesday morning and the Labour Party caucus will also arrive on Wednesday.
Hauiti Marae spokesperson Wayne Ngata said other marae from Te Tai Rawhiti are helping to cater for and accommodate the thousands of visitors expected over the next three days.
Mr Horomia will be buried at about 10am on Saturday.