26 Jan 2014

Ratana followers mark founder's birthday

7:30 am on 26 January 2014

Thousands of people gathered at Ratana Pa on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of the founder of the movement.

For the movement's followers, the day was the most important in a week of events, as they celebrated the Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana's life and vision.

Church services were held during the morning, along with baptisms and a wedding.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, the Maori King, Tuheitia, and Labour and Maori party leaders attended the services along with Ratana church leaders from around the country.

During the afternoon, sports tournaments, games and other festivities were planned for the thousands of Morehu and Manuhiri gathered at the Pa.

On Friday politicians from most major political parties had been welcomed onto the marae.