Rātana prepare for next week’s celebrations including welcoming their political guests
A special welcome for new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government will take place at Te Pā o Rātana this year, without the National Party.
It's all hands on deck at Rātana Pā; Chairman Andre Meihana says with a new year comes new changes for political parties.
“We always wanted to be one ope coming on representing everyone who works in parliament even the government of the day. This year we have chosen to put them apart, have two ope representing the government, the coalition, and also the opposition.”
Labour’s strong relationship with Rātana will no doubt play a part in getting Jacinda Ardern centre stage.
Helen Clark was the last Labour Prime Minister to be welcomed onto Rātana 10 years ago,
And to avoid any embarrassment like Clark at Waitangi, Peeni Henare is on hand to help the pm.
“Mō te nuinga o ngā ekenga marae me ngā hui pērā āe kāre e kore ka rīngi mai te Pirimia ki a au.”
Meihana says Rātana Church sending a message loud and clear.
“She (Ardern) won’t be sitting on the paepae but will be sitting in the second row in the front. And after the pōwhiri process has completed yes we will go over and bring her over to our paepae under the mahau and speak.”
And Henare says he will be there to support the prime minister.
“I te taha o te Pirimia ko māua ko Kelvin ngā reo Māori o te rōpū Reipa ka kake ki runga i te marae.”
Rātana is the first stop of the year on the political circuit, and it will be one to watch as the government look to get their year off to a good start amongst Māori.