Rātana Church to celebrate centenary of founding vision

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About 25,000 people are likely to come to Rātana near Whanganui on 7 November to celebrate the day 100 years ago when prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Rātana saw the vision that began the Rātana movement.

Rātana Church secretary Piri Rurawhe says the day is the most important in the church calendar.

“It’s 100 years since the vision of the Holy Spirit to TW Rātana. People of all faiths will be there.

“Every church here in one place and one time is quite a momentous achievement for New Zealand.”

Massive preparations are underway at the pā. There will be five marquees, toilets for the disabled, a medical centre, space for camping and caravans and huge car parks.

Visitors will be welcomed starting with Rātana faithful, then iwi, then other churches, then political parties at 3pm. There will be entertainment in the evening.

On 8 November there will be a church service and plaque unveiling, followed by a hakari (feast) and more entertainment.

On 9, 10 and 11 of November there will be rangatahi programmes, another evening of entertainment and an archive exhibition.

Gaylene Nepia is coordinating the event. Former police officer and current Conservation Department strategic Māori relationships manager Te Rangi Maniapoto is the security director.

He said his biggest worry is that campaigners might seize the moment to get media attention – and anti-1080 groups were the most likely to try.

In Palmerston North, an anti-1080 group threatened to put the poison baits in the city’s Freyberg Pool.

“Although it’s a religious celebration, it becomes a national focal point for media.

“People may try to use that to leverage off and get national media attention,” he said.

Rurawhe said people would not be allowed to use the occasion to push their own kaupapa.

The Rātana movement is a church and pan-iwi political movement founded by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana in early 20th-century New Zealand.

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News category: New Zealand.