January 23, 2019
Rātana time for political refresh
The mōrehu have gathered at Rātana Pā for the annual celebration of the birthday of church founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana in 1873, and today they welcome visitors from around the motu.
Expected in today are Tūwharetoa ariki Sir Tumu Te Heuheu, Kīng Tūheitia, the pou tikanga of Te Haahi Ringatū Wirangi Pera and the Pā Ariki, the traditional leader of Rarotonga.
Tomorrow it’s the turn of MPs from the various parties, although Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won’t be there – she’s in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
New Zealand First MP and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says it’s positive the political calendar is not altogether dominated by the major centres or the concerns of corporate New Zealand.
He says it’s great senior politicians start the political year by acknowledging the importance of the movement to Māori participation in politics.
"And the underlying message of Rātana, of social justice, of equity, of parity of opportunity, if anything those challenges loom larger today in the face of growing economic disparities between not only community, Pākehā and Māori, but rural and urban, and if anything the challenges lie there more starkly than they were in the old days," Mr Jones says.
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