Topic: Ratana

Ratana prepares to host 25,000 people

By Leah Te Whata
  • North Island: West Coast

This week marks 100 years since the late Māori prophet Tahupōtiki Wiremu Ratana declared that the ‘Holy Spirit’ had descended upon him. 

Thus, the foundations of the Ratana Faith were laid.

Today the Ratana Church has more than 30,000 followers.  However, it all began on 8 November, 1918.

It was a troubled time for Māori grappling with land loss, the effects of World War I and the devastating Spanish flu.

The Bible and the Treaty of Waitangi were foundations for the church and followers of the faith were encouraged to turn away from their dependence on tohungaism and Māori gods and to turn to Ihoa o Ngā Mano.

Māori from all over descended upon Ratana Pā in the following years and it became a stronghold for Māori politics.  To this day, MPs return to Ratana every year for T.W. Ratana’s birthday on 25 January, kicking off the political year.

Although the pā is quiet now, it’ll be humming tomorrow and for the remainder of the week with political parties, churches, iwi, schools and public figures expected to show up en masse.

Around 25,000 are expected to attend.