Labour’s ties to Ratana are questioned as well they should

Labour treats Maori with condescending and patronising behaviour.

They ‘expect’ support from Maori, in fact probably demand it behind closed doors, but the reality is after 90 years of association with Ratana the elders are finally getting the picture that more results for Maori have been delivered by the National party and their partnership with the Maori party.Labour is being put on notice again but anyone who has been observing politics as long as I have knows this has been going one for quite some time.

Maori it seems are content to talk lots but do little when it comes sorting out politicians.

At Ratana though Andrew Little got his beans, and it was particularly sharp in his mind after the elders changed the protocol for attending the marae, putting all politicians on the same level.

Only one got upset and that was Andrew Little.

Andrea Vance reports:

Ratana church leaders have warned Labour not to take its support for granted, after the party won six of the seven Maori seats at the election.

In a break from tradition, Labour leader Andrew Little and his MPs were obliged to walk onto the marae with politicians from other parties.

Events to mark the 142nd birthday of the prophet Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana ran well over time, because of the attendance of the Maori King Tūheitia Paki. But it’s known that church elders have long wanted MPs of all hues to be welcomed together.   

Senior Ratana leader Ruia Aperahama delivered a blunt message to Labour, with which it has strong ties dating back to 1936. He said morehu [followers] stuck with the party when the “rest of the mainstream left in droves and deserted Labour.” He retold a church proverb: “a tree that bears not good fruit will be chopped down and thrown onto the fire.”

Aperahama expressed fears the Maori vote may lose “its mana as more foreigners are welcomed into the country.”

Referring to an alliance with the party, forged after a meeting between the prophet Rātana and Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage, he added: “The Maori and Pacific voice must not be forgotten. You have had 90 years now … we are now asking seriously whether you are capable of honouring that or not.”

Little was more positive about the relationship, citing three morehu now members of his caucus – Louisa Wall, Adrian Rurawhe and Rino Tirikatene.

“They have said that most years I’ve been here … it’s been said before. But I’ve got to go on what happened last year. And last year we got got six out of the seven MPs … we know what the task is ahead of us.

“We’ve been working pretty hard on the relationship with Ratana that’s why we now have the great grandson [Rurawhe] of the prophet Ratana in our caucus.”

What a blowhard…hectoring Ratana about the ties…and then comes the patronising.

Little wants the separation of Government and Opposition parties in the Powhiri to continue.

“I’ve tried to give them the message that the relationship with Labour goes back nearly 80 years and that was the judgement of the prophet, so they’ve got to look to their history too. We will look to ours.

“We will certainly continue to forge our relationship beyond just the annual January [event] and we will see what happens in January.”

Earlier, in a speech on the marae, Little played up the deep history between the two movements.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English was sanguine about the shift in protocol for walking onto the marae.

“It’s not really a problem, you’ve got to fit in with organisers,” he said.

He tried to give them the message? What’s that? Union bovver boy shop floor speak.

Ratana aren’t listening to the patronising, they are seeking results.

Someone who utters words like this though surely is as shallow as a bird bath:

“We will certainly continue to forge our relationship beyond just the annual January [event] and we will see what happens in January.”

I mean what does that even mean?

The little man speaks in riddles.


– Fairfax


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  • conwaycaptain

    All National have to do now is [produce something BIG in the next 18 months and say to Ratana “look this is what the Nats have given you and we listen” More Maori Party MPs and it could be better.

  • taurangaruru

    Maori have already had two terms in Government via the agreement with the Maori Party, something the Labour Party would never have done. Now that Key has “normalised” that scenario Maori should expect no less from Labour. However the last 90 years of their association with Labour has given them nothing, they have just been taken for granted & Maori should remember that when they cast their votes at the next election. Progress with National, a seat at the top table, an economy growing meaning more jobs for Maori, better schooling via Charter Schools, the list goes on & on. What have they ever got with Labour? Sweet Fanny Adams.

  • KGB

    I am quite sure I have heard all this before. (Maori threatening Labour loyalty over the for-shore debate?) Correct me if I’m wrong please, but it sounds very familiar. They can threaten all they like, it’s all posturing. When it comes down to it Maori will continue to support a Labour Government and the welfare perks that accompany it. They seem blind to the fact that under National they have achieved more for their people.

  • spanish_tudor

    Why on earth should the attendance of an illiterate truck driver delay the arrival of politicians onto Ratana Pa?

    • Taser

      Illiterate truck driver who normally forgets his false teeth, so then doesn’t speak. I couldn’t imagine Queen Lizzy doing that.

  • The Accountant

    Sadly, many Maori blindly support Labour. They are common commentators on National Party Facebook pages, with rants about the evil Key and the National Party. I suspect it could be like pushing jelly up hill with a rake To convince them otherwise.

  • caochladh

    I came upon this photo of the Ratana church in action and thought it was the inside of a mosque.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    The Maori vote from years of close association with Ratana church has simply rattled around in Labour’s pocket like so much loose change.
    It did provide substantial helping of gravy when Labour held power and some of that generosity will be paid for in perpetuity.
    Fast forward to today where they have continued as a coalition partner where they seem to be intent on standing out by standing aside rather than attempt to be part of the team.
    Their inclusion in the new Government will come at cost as most mature observers know since they will always follow their own agenda that leans towards more favours and concessions. With a seat at the table their reach is longer and the Government will need to be cautious about what gets grabbed.
    In this instance we can be grateful that Labour holds the majority of the obligatory Maori seats and prevent a grab fest.