Topic: Ratana

The voice of the Ratana celebrations

By Tema Hemi
  • North Island: West Coast

Communication is the key to a successful celebration at Ratana Pā and it is the responsibility of the public announcement office to inform the hui and keep things in order.

The P.A Office now has its first female voice, a warm voice of  welcome to the multitudes that flock to the pā.

A need for announcements in te reo landed Kare Pikimaui her job in the P.A. Office.   

Pikimaui says, "The announcements concerning the wharekai kī kōpu is a major priority.  It's one of the occasions when all church followers congregate in one location, so the job entails keeping them apprised of movements. 

"The iwi has told me to speak more reo, but during peak times it's easier to speak English.  Some have said 'that job's yours till you die now'.  If I were to move somewhere else, I would still return to work in here."

Koro Taiaroa was the first public announcer in the 1960s, followed by his son Michael Taiaroa.  Now, grandson Jonathan Kaa carries his mantle. 

Co-announcer Kaa says, "My Koro and my uncle were my predecessors...it's a real honor and a privilege.  I remember as a little boy being in the P.A. room with my uncle [but] I didn't really see myself in there at that point and time."

The announcers take pride in their job, ensuring good communication between all facets of the celebrations.