Connexions. No. 220, The Ratana Church 75th Anniversary

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Tono kōrero mai

Clive Conland presents a programme to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Rātana Church.

Tahu Asher (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Te Rangi) is a 'morehu' or follower of the Rātana faith. He tells the story of how Tahupōtiki Wiremu Ratana had a visitation from the Holy Spirit, after praying on the health of his seriously ill son.

Ihimairia [Ismalia] Jane Manahi (Ngāi Tahu) has been an 'āwhina' in the Rātana faith since the 1920s - a role similar to the Sisters of Mercy, attending the sick and assisting at christenings. She worked at Tuahiwi and on the death of her husband attained the status of 'runaka' - one of the Council of 12 Apotoro or Apostles of the Church who advise and perform the services of a registered minister. She can marry people, perform weddings, christenings and burials.

Jane Manahi was the first woman to attain this position and recalls her memories of working with Rātana himself. She tells a story to illustrate his power over traditional tohuka [tohunga] who were opposed to the Ratana faith. She talks about Rātana's ability to cure the sick, which he told people was due to their faith in God - not his ability. She described what would happen when they travelled the country to heal the sick.
She attended his funeral in 1939.

James Makowharemahihi is one of the youngest apostles in the church today and speaks about the draw of Rātana for young Māori, the use of te reo Māori in the faith and the annual hui which draws thousands of followers to Rātana Pā.

Tahu Asher speaks about the role of women in the church. He doesn't believe they will become celebrants as a matter of course. Jane Manahi talks about the busy life she had, with a family of 12 and working as an āwhina in Tuahiwi. She worked with Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs and also with gangs and many Māori institutions such as the Māori Womens Welfare League.

Tahu Asher speaks about the difference between the Rātana Church and the Movement, which he says are two separate things. He discusses the history of the Movement's affiliation with the Labour Party and the role of the Tirikātene whānau. He says with the passing of Rātana's children, the immediate family will now select the head of the church in future.

Rātana was referred to as the 'Māngai" or Mouthpiece of God, in his role as the head of the church, but when he worked with the Movement in trying to improve the socio-economic status of Māori, his role was called "Piriwiritua.'

James Makowharemahihi, Jane Manahi and Tahu Asher end by giving their hopes for the future of the church.

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Year 1993

Reference number 207862

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits RNZ Collection
Conland, Clive, Presenter
Asher, Tahu, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Manahi, Ismalia, 1916?-1995, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Makowharemahihi, James, Speaker/Kaikōrero
National Radio (N.Z.) (estab. 1986, closed 2007), Broadcaster

Duration 00:41:40

Date 14 Nov 1993

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