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T W Rātana

Mr Tahupotiki Ratana
Mr Tahupotiki Ratana 1939, Raine, William Hall (1892–1955), New Zealand. Te Papa

Early in the 20th century, Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana (1873–1939, Ngati Apa, Nga Rauru) had a spiritual vision and became a healer. He rapidly gathered a following among Maori around New Zealand, and his supporters became known as nga morehu (the survivors).

Ratana formally founded the Ratana religious and political movement in 1925, seeking to cure not only physical ailments but also Maori impoverishment. He saw the taking of Maori land as a major cause of inequality.

Alliance with Labour

In 1936, Ratana formed an alliance with New Zealand Prime Minister Michael Savage (1872–1940) in the hope that Labour would help deliver Maori from poverty. For the next 60 years, Parliament's four Maori seats were mostly held by Labour members affiliated to the Ratana movement.

The alliance with Labour is still negotiated today (2010), and the Ratana Church remains strong.

Read more about TW Ratana

Read biography of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana

Watch a 1990 documentary from the Pounamu series about Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana


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