28 Jan 2014

Ratana celebrations wrap up

6:31 am on 28 January 2014

Thousands of people are making their way home from Ratana pa, near Whanganui, as the annual celebrations wrap up.

Labour Party MPs at Ratana marae.

Labour Party MPs at Ratana marae. Photo: RNZ

The actual birthday of the church's founder, Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, was on Saturday, and began with a wedding, and the baptisms of more than 20 tamariki.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae was welcomed onto the pa, before a huge brass band led a crowd of children, ministers and iwi leaders to church.

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe stayed on for the day's festivities.

The Ratana church is emphasizing the importance of keeping young people involved in the celebrations, after experiencing a drop in followers by 10,000 to 40,000 members in the latest census.

Next year will mark the 90 year anniversary of the official establishment of the Ratana church.