Rātana on the road

Rātana on the road

Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana (seated in the back of the car holding a flag) publicising the Rātana movement at Taupō during one of his motoring tours in the early 1920s. By 1928 the Rātana faith was said to have more than 28,000 followers or mōrehu (survivors), about a third of the total Maori population. That year, Rātana announced his intention to enter politics and campaign in the four Māori seats, which he called the 'four quarters' of his body.

Eruera Tirikātene won Southern Maori in a by-election in 1932, and the Rātana-Labour alliance completed a clean-sweep of the four seats in 1943, when Tiaki Omana defeated Sir Apirana Ngata in Eastern Maori. Labour was to hold all the Maori seats until 1993.

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