24 Jan 2012

Labour invitation essential, says Ratana minister

8:58 pm on 24 January 2012

A senior minister in the Ratana Church says the Labour's invitation for the movement to meet with its party's caucus is essential following the low turnout by Maori at the general election.

Hundreds of people have descended on Ratana Pa near Whanganui to celebrate the birth of the faith's founder Tahu Potiki Wiremu Ratana who was born on 25 January 1873.


Labour leader David Shearer extended the invitation during his speech at the pa on Tuesday afternoon.

Robin Muru, an Auckland Ratana Church Minister, says the offer shows that the party is reaching out.

Mr Muru says voting at the election in November last year showed that Labour was losing contact with many Maori.

Meanwhile, the head of the Ratana Church's executive committee says this year will be the first time that a Governor-General, who is also a member of the movement, will be officially welcomed on the marae.

Waka Paama says he is pleased Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae will be visiting Ratana on Wednesday and is looking forward to hearing his speech.

Mr Paama says the Ratana Church is proud that one of its morehu, or members, has risen to such a high office.