Yesterday Rātana welcomed iwi from around the country to its annual celebrations, ariki from Tūwharetoa and Tainui were received along with leaders from the Ringatū faith.

Dylan Tatu says Tūwharetoa comes to Rātana based on ties and history.

“Tīmatahia ngā wai o Whanganui ki runga i a Tongariro maunga. Ko Rakeipoho tērā i tīmatahia ngā wai, he hononga wairua tērā, engari ko tā te hononga o to tātou ariki a Ta Tumu ki te hāhi ko te haurua - ko te halfway.”   

The Whanganui River's genesis is in Tongariro. The waters start in Te Hokowhitu-a-Rakeipoho. There's a spiritual connection. The connection of our ariki in all of this can be described as a 'half-way'.

According to Tatu, the ties between Rātana and Tūwharetoa can't be severed.

“Āe e kīa nei ko tō tātou pāpā T.W.Rātana i tae atu ki a mātou i runga i tōna haerenga ki Matamata, ki Te Omeka. Ā, nō reira tērā tētehi o ngā hononga engari he iwi Mōrehu a Tūwharetoa.”

Other Māori-based faiths also say the same with Hohepa McLean saying the Ringatū Faith have been long-time supporters of this Rātana event.

“Tuatahi ki te haere mai ki te hari mai i tā mātou pou tikanga. Tuarua, ki te tautoko. Nā te mea e mārama ana tātou kei konei rā te pere a Te Kooti i tākohahia e Te Kooti ki tēnei ō tātou marae, me ōna ōhaki me ōna whakaari.”

McLean also adds, this is an important year for Māori-based faiths.

“Āe rite tonu ki tā mātou whakanui i te rā 150 i roto i Rangiwaho āe i Te Tai Rāwhiti i roto i a Wairoa tērā anō o tā mātou kaupapa. He rā nui tēnei o ngā kaupapa, tae atu ki te Kīngitanga hoki, te tautoko i a rātou, i roto i tā mātou poukai i roto i a Kōkōhīnau i tēnei tau. Whakaritea wērā kōrero.”

Yes, just like when we celebrated the 150th centenary at Rangiwaho on the East Coast in Wairoa. That was important to us, today is important, and it's also important to the Kiingitanga. We're here to support them, that was decided at our poukai at Kōkōhīnau this year. We're fulfilling what's been said.

Tatu agrees and says that both Rātana birthday and the day he received his vision are significant.

“Kei te mōhio whānui hei te 25 o Hanuere ka haramai kia whakanuitia te huritau, engari ruarua noa iho ngā mea e mōhiotia hei te 8 o Noema tērā te tatūnga o te Wairua Tapu ki runga i tō tātou māngai. Ngā rā e rua he rā nui, he rā whakahirahira, he rā whānau. Ko te mea nui kia tae mai a Tongariro, ki te haramai a Tongariro, ka haramai hoki tō tātou ariki a Tā Tumu Te Heuheu hei whakakanohi i tērā maunga tapu.

Yesterday was certainly about acknowledging the important relationships in Te Ao Māori.

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