Ratana apostle Kereama Pene prepares for 100th Centennial

By Tema Hemi

A Ratana apostle prepares to take his followers to Ratana Pa for the 100 year centenary of the day the Holy Spirit descended upon Tahu Pōtiki Wiremu Ratana. He says for 15 elderly making the journey with him it could well be their last. 

Final checks before the journey begin, and for some, it will be their last. For over 40 years Kereama Pene has been making the spiritual journey to Ratana Pa and he knows exactly what draws him back every year. 

On July 15, 1925, the Ratana Established Church of New Zealand was registered with the Registrar General of Marriages, Births and Deaths in Wellington.

But it is the 8th of November considered to be the most important day in the Ratana faith. Tuesday morning this bus will depart alongside the other 14 Ratana parishes throughout the Auckland region for Ratana Pa, more than sixty thousand are expected to attend over the five-day event. 

Source: Te Hāhi Ratana Website.

Kereama Pene talked about the elderly who he is transporting to Ratana Pa next week, "The 15 or so kaumātua that we've got here on our bus, many of them know that this is their last trip to Ratana but they would rather pass away on this journey than die in tauiwi hospitals, so they've all said matua, you come pick us up we're going" 

Our job is to become kaitiaki or perhaps more importantly 'ngā pou kaihāpai i te rama', our job is to carry it, our job is to make sure it is broadcast so the whole world might know it. 

He also spoke of the true essence of the 100th centennial, "the Holy Spirit choose a humble Māori farmer to become a mouth piece for God. His sole job was to unite all the tribes of Māoridom under the glory of the one true God. So we're all readying ourselves to prepare ourselves to take the sacred journey down to Ratana Pa to celebrate the most important day in our māramatanga, in our church on the 8th of November." 

Source: Te Hāhi Ratana Website.

For more info about the Ratana Church go to the official Te Hāhi Ratana website and facebook page.

Here is an itinerary of the rangatahi activities for the 100th Centennial celebrations at Ratana Pa.