In 1924, Tahupotiki Wiremu Rātana and his followers toured the world to present Māori grievances over the Treaty of Waitangi to an international audience.
Now the church is preparing to commemorate the centenary of that trip next year.
Nearly 100 years ago, Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana and 38 followers toured Britain, the US, Canada and Asia. He carried a petition on the Treaty of Waitangi and land confiscations to present to King George V and the League of Nations.
The party of 38 left Rātana pā on April 9, 1924, and returned there on December 24. It included Rātana's wife and children, Pita Moko as the main organiser and spokesman, Rātana himself to care for the spiritual side of the journey, and Tupu Taingākawa and Pēpene Eketone to look after the material aspects.
“This event is about making relationships but also something that will bring all the lords' servants together and find remedies for the troubles that the government put on Māori people,” church member and apostle Raniera Pene says.
In 2024 Rātana followers will retrace their founder's footsteps around the world. Japan is one country that has retained ties to the church from the last century. A member of the Rātana church is already in Japan, cementing those ties and a lot of planning is underway.
“At the moment we have one of our servants over there. Leeanna Nepia is over there, making our relationship more assertive with the people. During the last week of Easter, we will all gather to see who will lead the touring team, and after that, we will make a full plan for the trip,” Pene says.