Maori prophet and visionary T.W. Ratana was essentially calling Maori back to unity and faith in one God after decades of chaos and confusion, particularly after the land wars of the 1860s and the travesty of Parihaka in the 1880s.
Ratana reminded Maori of their great Christian legacy and the hope spoken of by a number of Maori prophets that related not only to the Bible but also the promises of the Treaty of Waitangi.
He had a thorough knowledge of the spiritual and political history of Maori and had been on every marae around the country discussing these issues. As I began to grasp this, I realised he was an important catalyst for revival of the Maori spirit and Maori mana and the healing of this nation’s story.
Ratan drew Maori from a broken place, and between the two world wars gave them hope and a vision for the future, which in itself was an extraordinary feat. What is even more extraordinary was his God-given ability to heal people of their physical, mental and spiritual ills.
Ratana was the most successful faith healer this country has ever seen and because his faith and movement were based on the Bible and essentially a solid Christian foundation, his movement should not be considered a cult.
Many have however elevated Ratana beyond the status of a gifted man who moved in the supernatural by the agency of the Wairua Tapu (Holy Spirit), an assumption that split the movement after his death and is still today a source of confusion for some.
The fact there had been that very little information in the public domain about Ratana and his church and movement he founded meant many who called themselves morehu (the scattered or faithful remnant) did not have a strong understanding of their own history or Ratana’s role in New Zealand and Maori history.
For some the focus remains on Ratana’s amazing prophecies and his more arcane teachings than on the simplicity of the Gospel message and the Bible which he considered the movement’s great treasure.
I believe this was largely because there has not been a balanced understanding of his role and his teachings. I have tried to provide that balance in both my books, Ratana Revisited (Reed 2008) and Ratana the Prophet (Penguin 2009).
I have the remaining copies of Ratana the Prophet which I am making available for $30 per copy plus postage of $5. Email me if you are interested firstname.lastname@example.org