Ratana on the road

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

Eruera Tirikatene won a Southern Maori by-election in 1932, and the then Ratana-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 of the Maori seats until 1993.

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