Rātana: Q & A with the PM and Rangatahi

9:00 pm on 25 January 2018

At Rātana this week Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stole the headlines after she was given a special place to speak on the paepae and received the offer of a new name, Waru, for her new baby.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern being welcomed at Rātana.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern being welcomed at Rātana. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

But behind the scenes she engaged with quite a different group of local Rangatahi who hosted their own Q and A session with Ms Ardern.

Rangatahi: "Hāngi or boil up?"

Jacinda Ardern: "Boil up."

Rangatahi: "Rugby or rugby league?"

JA: "Oh I'm a patriot for the Mt Albert Lions, so rugby league."

Rangatahi: "Since the party colours are closer to the colour maroon, maroons or blues?"

JA: "Oh you can't do that! Oh gold - the Lions all the way."

Ms Ardern's diplomatic skills were also put to the test.

Rangatahi: "Ok, Māori Party or National party?"

JA: "Oh you know what I'm gonna say ... te rōpu reipa."

The questions were coming thick and fast from two of Rātana's youngest and brightest teenagers, Te Waata Mason and Hemiora Renata.

Miss Mason was especially impressed and inspired by the visit.

"Oh my God, I was so nervous because I didn't actually know that I was gonna sit right next to her until five minutes until she walked in.

"She literally gave her spare time to come in here and talk to us and yeah that was mean. I've never actually seen a Prime Minister come in and talk to our rangatahi and let rangatahi interview them."

Rātana has long been a Labour Party stronghold but for the new generation, including Hemiora Renata, a new government means someone new to relate to.

"We got a new face for our rangatahi, for our iwi Māori and also our country. And I think, yeah, our people needs that sort of umph - that sort of push so we can levitate in the world."

So boil up, rugby league, diplomacy - the Prime Minister seemed well ahead on points but Te Waata and Hemiora had saved the best challenge til last, teaching Ms Adern how to play a note on the trumpet.

While Rātana's youngsters were impressed by the Prime Minister they don't think there's a spot in the famous rātana brass band anytime soon.

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