January 18, 2022
Covid claims Rātana celebrations
Thousands of Ratana faithful been asked to stay away from the Rātana Church annual celebrations, another victim of Covid-19.
This year the Rātana Kōmiti Marae has cancelled all events for the safety and wellbeing of everyone. Only the formal procession from the marae to the temple will go ahead with speeches at the marae afterwards.
For generations Rātana followers have gathered to celebrate the birthday of the founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana on January 25th. In the days leading up politicians and Māori leaders gather at Rātana Pā to pay their respects. For politicians it marks the start of the political year and many use the opportunity to pitch to Māori. For the Mōrehu, the adherents of Rātana, the annual celebrations bring them together to reaffirm their unique Christian faith.
Rātana leaders say there will be strict safety precautions in place. The service will be a vaccinated event with vaccine passes, photo identification checked and masks required.
Rātana followers have been asked to stay home and hold “whakamoemiti” in their own parishes.
Head of Paepae Kamaka Manuel says it has been a difficult decision but one taken to keep the Rātana community and the faithful safe. Many of the mōrehu, the faithful come from high risk areas.
This is the second year in a row that the Rātana church has scaled back the celebrations because of the impact of Covid.