January 11, 2022
Rātana celebrations scaled back again
Rātana celebrations near Whanganui have been scaled back for a second year due to the Covid-19.
Historically, the annual three-day event at Rātana Pā brings together thousands of followers of the church from around the country along with politicians and other dignitaries.
Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana was the founder of the Māori religious movement which also became a major political movement in the late 1920s.
For only the second time in more than 100 years, this year’s celebrations will be scaled back to a one-day event for the local community on the prophet’s birthday: January 25.
The formal procession from the marae to the whakamoemiti service in the temple will go ahead followed by speeches at the marae.
However, Rātana leaders say there will be strict safety precautions for those who do attend the service including the wearing of masks, checking of vaccine passes and photo identification.
The office of the Rātana Established Church has asked followers outside of the settlement to stay home and hold whakamoemiti in their own parishes to keep the community safe.
Head of Paepae, Kamaka Manuel, says the very tough decision aligns with the Ministry of Health guidelines to ensure that not only those at home in the Rātana community but also all of our fellowship in the wider motu are kept safe.
Manuel says this year’s cancellations will impact heavily on the Rātana mōrehu who make the annual pilgrimage from around the country to recharge ā-tīnana, ā-wairua.
“What had to be counted into the decision was the fact that although we are in orange of the traffic light system, there are still people who belong to our hāhi and our mōrehu who come from very high-risk red areas.”
“This year we won’t see the official attendance by politicians, dignitaries and the huge media presence, but there are a number of politicians who affiliate strongly to the hāhi who may attend.
“We will still have a strong contingent of our mōrehu heading down to the temepara, in the temepara for whakamoemiti and then returning from the temepara to the marae for the paepae to engage in some mihi – there will still be an aspect of that continuing.”