24 Jan 2013

Ratana Church supports Mana-Maori alliance

7:37 pm on 24 January 2013

The Ratana Church is supporting a call by the Mana movement for an alliance to be formed with the Maori Party.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says that Maori strongly want to have a united political movement and he would be happy to lead such a campaign.

He says there are certain areas where both parties could work together, such as lifting Maori out of poverty.

Senior Ratana leader Ruia Aperahama supports Mr Harawira's proposal, saying the parties need to put their differences aside and work together for the betterment of Maori society.

However, he says the Ratana Church would only support the move if the parties go into coalition with Labour and the Greens at the next election set for 2014.

Both Hone Harawira and Prime Minister John Key have ruled out Mana and National entering into a coalition agreement.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he doesn't see any reason why Mana and his party can't work together, but co-leader Tariana Turia has ruled it out.

Meanwhile, at Ratana Pa on Thursday more than 500 guests have been welcomed onto the marae near Whanganui for day two of the annual celebrations to acknowledge the birth of the church's founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

Six pohiri (powhiri) were held throughout the day, welcoming MPs and government ministers, as well as Maori delegates.

Among them were Tuwharetoa Paramount chief Sir Tumu te Heuheu and a large Waikato-Tainui delegation representing the Maori King Tuheitia, who did not attend.

Maori leaders all expressed a similar view that the Ratana celebrations are a way of uniting Maoridom and support what Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana preached about - bringing Maori and Pakeha together.