January 24, 2019
Rātana bands and bonds endure
MPs have opened the political year by paying their respects at Rātana Pā, where thousands of mōrehu have gathered for the annual celebration of the birth of movement founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana.
With the Prime Minister overseas, the Government was led on yesterday by her deputy and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.
National and two parties which failed to win seats, the Māori Party and the Opportunities Party, also made the journey to the settlement near Whanganui.
Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says as a youngster who grew up accompanying politicians onto the marae as a band member, it was only Labour MPs he remembers attending.
"I think there is broad recognition across the political spectrum of the importance of kaupapa Māori, the importance of the Māori vote, the importance of the treaty, all of those aspects for which Rātana and his koata, his members of parliament which did form that historic alliance with Labour that still endures today and I suppose you could count me as being a part of all that too," he says.
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