Story: Rātana Church – Te Haahi Rātana

T. W. Rātana

T. W. Rātana

This painting of T. W. Rātana by Paula Novak shows him with a geranium, a Bible and Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) in front of him. The geranium represents a flower he took from his garden and planted at Parliament grounds, where the Beehive now stands. Rātana said he would one day pluck a flower and its pollen would be blown to the four winds, representing the four Māori seats that would be captured by Rātana candidates. The Bible and treaty symbolise Rātana's saying that he held the Bible in his left hand and the treaty in his right, a reference to his dual spiritual and political focus. By his right shoulder is the Rātana Temple, and above that is the whetū mārama (star and moon) symbol. Blue represents te Matua (the Father), white represents te Tama (the Son), red represents te Wairua Tapu (the Holy Spirit) and purple represents ngā Anahera Pono (the faithful angels). Mt Taranaki stands at Rātana's left shoulder, with the waterfall Te Rere o Kapuni (the waterfall of the prophets) below.

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Paula Novak Extraordinary Art
Artwork by Paula Novak

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How to cite this page:

Keith Newman, 'Rātana Church – Te Haahi Rātana - Founding the Rātana Church', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 July 2022)

Story by Keith Newman, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018