Ratana 25th and Waitangi Day: Soraya Waiata Peke-Mason, NZ Labour Candidate

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By Soraya Waiata Peke-Mason, NZ Labour Candidate – TE TAI HAUAURU ELECTORATE

Once the dust settled after the annual Ratana 25th Celebration it was time to prepare and honour one of New Zealands most significant and important historical days of the year, of course that is Waitangi Day.

It was an honour to personally attend and spend a couple of days with our people, Labour Leader, Phil Goff, Ministers and other Candidates at Waitangi. Of course I have attended Waitangi on other occasions but not in the capacity as Labours Candidate for Te Tai Hauauru. The Powhiri onto Te Tii Marae and whaikorero was welcoming, filled with tradition, passion and at times humour. It was wonderful to see so many Rangatahi and more importantly enlightening to hear first hand their hearts in the debating marquee at Waitangi. It was good to see a line up of Labour Ministers present to respond to their comments and questions.

We all know our Prophet T.W. Ratana carried two books Te Paipera me Te Tiriti O Waitangi. Once he completed his spiritual works he undertook his physical works, that of which is upholding this Countrys founding document. It is always interesting year after year to observe people and read the rhetoric going on leading up and during the Ratana celebrations. Everyone has their own stories to tell about the work and vision our Prophet walked and the contributions our Tupuna made to his journey. For myself as 4th Generation passionate Morehu it is simple, my tupuna humbly worked behind the scenes back then and whanau still do today.

After we welcomed our Labour Leader, Phil Goff and Deputy Leader Annette King onto our Marae at the Ratana 25th the Tumuaki and I briefly met with them to discuss this important year ahead. It has been said, we are looking for a 21st Century relationship and I am humbled to be a part of that.

The highlight of the celebrations has to be the kauhau (sermon) by Apotoro Kereama Pene at Church Service on 25th January. It was so powerful some two weeks later it is still being spoken of. To me it was essentially about the historical Kingitanga-Ratana relationship and how we can collectively and progressively contribute to strengthening the foundation of our people in the 21st Century.

The vision of our Prophet to unite the peoples has never been more relevant than today. The Manuao on our Marae speaks volumes of unity without saying, where it displays the twelve waka including that of the Endeavour and Heemskirk. Lets never forget the Marae at Ratana is not of any traditional iwi tikanga, but that of all Iwi. It has its own tikanga and was established by God himself. It is known as Te Paa o Ariki and Te Paa o Nga Hau E Wha (meaning the Paa of the four winds, north, south, east and west).

Soraya Waiata Peke-Mason, Labour Candidate, Te Tai Hauauru Electorate.

7th February 2011, Cell : 027 2707763, sorayapm@xtra.co.nz.

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