It was a good omen as the sun rose over Rātana while Labour MPs, councillors and supporters assembled for the annual visit to the settlement last Friday. For Andrew Little, it was the first attendance as party leader and he spoke about the long relationship between the Labour Party and the Rātana movement, forged in the years before the first Labour Government by the Prophet Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana.
It was also a significant ceremony as the first speaker to the visiting group from the locals was newly elected Labour MP for Te Tai Hauāuru Adrian Rurawhe.
The visit is only a small part of the celebrations commemorating the birthday of the founding prophet held at Rātana Pa, with supporters coming from all across New Zealand, including those from beyond the church, such as the Māori King and Representatives from several iwi and the Ringatū church.
Andrew Little said that it was an “awesome responsibility” in acknowledging that six out of the seven Māori seats were won by Labour and the expectation of the party being challenged to realise a better future for Māori.