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Second important Māori event of the year attracts thousands of mōrehu to Rātana

Merewai Durutalo

This year’s Rātana celebrations at Rātana Pa kicked off today in sunny weather with crowds flocking to the always popular event.

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“We look forward to seeing all our whānau, all our people, te iwi mōrehu katoa (all followers of the movement) as they come here, ” Rātana Pā spokesperson Te Taepa Kameta says.

He says the annual event celebrates the birth of Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, prophet and founder of Te Hāhi Rātana (the Rātana church).

Kameta says the current Rātana occasion has a lot to celebrate and the discussions that happened at the hui ā motu at Tūrangawaewae Marae two days ago will be passed on to cabinet ministers and MPs who will be visiting this Wednesday.

“The hui of te iwi Māori katoa (all Māori people) and talk about kotahitanga (unity) - we certainly saw that up in Tūrangawaewae. These are some of the main features we see here on Rātana and the days to come, particularly around all the leaders of te iwi Māori who express their support towards the vision that we have.”

‘We thrive when we are together’

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says the Kīngitanga hui was such a great success because Māori have returned to “what is important to us, which is kaupapa like our Kīngitanga”.

Ngarewa-Packer’s stance is clear on why the kaupapa has been fruitful in uniting Māori across the country.

“The fact that we are products of Te Tiriti. We are not like anyone else in Aotearoa, we thrive when we are together. I think having kaupapa that brings us together, we can take on anything.”

Ngarewa-Packer says she thinks Māori can take on a populist government that is “almost acting like Trump” and can find the kaha (power) but most importantly the wairua (soul) that collectively helps Māori to move forward.

“I think what we’re going to hear is more kōrero that emphasises our uniqueness and encourages us to keep doing it, whether at home, in our hapū, here together, but to never lose sight of who and what it is that we are together.”

Kameta says Kīngi Tuheitia will lead well with the support of all Māori leaders to ensure all indigenous voices are heard and that their independence is recognised.

Rangatahi - leaders for today

“The fight has been fought and is still being fought. However, it is time for action especially in the space that we’re in now and the rangatahi (youth) are certainly doing a great job at it.”

He says although it has been said often that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow, the actual fact is it’s the other way around.

“The rangatahi are the rangatira (leaders) for today and tomorrow and they stood humbly with our rangatira across the motu (country).”

Kameta says the hui has shown the unity between generations, young, and old, with the vision of being unified under the true banner of love, peace and harmony.

He says Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana would be proud of the efforts his many followers have put in, especially up to this date, but the issues that they’ve had with the Crown has been around for many years since before Rātana’s time.

“I guess there might be a little bit of disappointment to that. You know we have fought a good fight but we’re still trying in the pursuit of mana motuhake (self-determination).”

Hero Image: Te Temepara o te Haahi Ratana (The Ratana Temple). Source: File

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