Morehu Day at Ōkahu

By Tema Hemi

The faithful of the Ratana Church have gathered at Ōkahu Bay this weekend to celebrate Mōrehu Day. The name Morehu was given by the founder of the faith Tahu Potiki Wiremu Ratana to his followers which is still the largest Māori movement in the country.

Morehu have come from near and far to celebrate their faith. 

The secretary of the Ratana faith Piri Rurawhe says, "Morehu Day is a concept or a kaupapa that was established for our Morehu who live in Australia and was adopted across our takiwa across Aotearoa and has been going for a number of years now."

Its a strategic concept to strengthen the smaller parishes throughout the nation.

Rurawhe also says, "The kaupapa of Morehu Day was to instil within that takiwa their unique nature and give them an opportunity to come together as Morehu and celebrate this māramatanga and our hāhi."

The principal of Te Kura o Ratana Te Rangi Hemi says, "This event draws people together, brings everyone together. From our grandfather and grandmothers, our youth, our children and infants also."

Other religions were invited to be apart of the celebrations.

Head organiser of the event Kereama Pene says, "Im really wrapped that all the churches are in there now having a cup of tea with each other, from Muslim to Christian, to Bahai, Methodist, Anglican, they just feel a wairua bro."

Pene says he's reviving old ways amongst this generation, "In the time of Anatia and the Māori community centre, there were no homeless people in that time. When uncle Jack Kitchen and Rima Dawson and those āpōtoro were working out of the old Māori community centre. So all our people coming to do this is like reviving those old whakāro."

The hāhi will celebrate 100 years of the māramatanga on November 8th this year .

MP for Te Tai Hauāuru, Adrian Rurawhe says, "We're all very excited and looking forward to the day and in particular preparing our plan of action to execute as we move closer to the 8th of November."

Morehu Day in New Zealand first started in Taumarunui in 2015, Napier in 2016, Tauranga in 2017, and Tāmaki in 2018.

Next years will be in held at Tuahiwi Marae in the South Island.