Christianity Knowledge Base

The Ratana movement is a Māori religion and pan-tribal political movement founded by Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana in early 20th century New Zealand. The Ratana Church has its headquarters at the settlement of Ratana, near Wanganui.

Ture Wairua – spiritual mission[]

In 1918, Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana saw a vision, which he regarded as divinely inspired, asking him to preach the gospel to the Māori people, to destroy the power of the tohunga and to cure the spirits and bodies of his people. Until 1924, he preached to increasingly large numbers of Māori, and T.W. Ratana established a name for himself as the "Māori Miracle Man". Initially, the movement was seen as a Christian revival but it soon moved away from mainstream churches. On May 31, 1925, Te Haahi Ratana (The Ratana Church) was formally established as a separate church, with its founder acknowledged as Te Mangai or the mouthpiece of God. Hostile attitudes have caused the church to be guarded towards its teaching and founder.

There are over 50,000 members of the Ratana Church in New Zealand and 20,000 members in Australia mainly composed of Maori descent. There are 127 parishes in operation in New Zealand and 14 parishes operating in Australia. Apotoro Rehita (Registered Apostles) are able to conduct marriages and preside over parishes. Apotoro Wairua (Spiritual Apostles) assist the Apotoro Rehita in Parish life. Akonga (Disciple) are men who are training to become Apostles later. Awhina (Sisters of Mercy) are women who assist the Apotoro in Parish life. Roopu Raupo (Psalmists) are responsible for leading the Devotional Prayers in the Whakamoemiti. (Worship Service) All parishes hold Whakamoemiti at 11:00am on Sundays. However, the church also initiates other gatherings in which the Morehu (followers) are encouraged to partake. An highly organised church, the religion also boasts a well-sanctioned seven brass bands, various choirs, katipa and kaitiaki.

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