Toko Ratana

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Haami Tokouru Ratana
Born 21 July 1894
Parewanui, New Zealand
Died 30 October 1944
Ratana Pa, New Zealand

Haami Tokouru (Toko) Ratana (21 July 1894 – 30 October 1944) is a former New Zealand politician and President of the Ratana Church. He joined Eruera Tirikatene in Parliament as the second Ratana Independent Member of Parliament (MP), elected for the Western Maori electorate in 1935. Following the death of his father Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana in 1939, H.T Ratana became the second Ratana movement President. He held both positions until his death in 1944.

Early life[edit]

Eldest son of the founder of the Ratana Church, Toko Ratana was educated at Whangaehu school and was bilingual in English and Maori. After enlisting in the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion during World War I, he served in Gallipoli and later in France, where he suffered the effects of a gas attack. This caused him ill health for the rest of his life.[1]

Political career[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1935–1936 25th Western Maori Ratana
1936–1938 Changed allegiance to: Labour
1938–1943 26th Western Maori Labour
1943–1944 27th Western Maori Labour

H. T. Ratana unsuccessfully stood for Parliament as an independent candidate for the Western Maori seat against Maui Pomare in 1922. As a Ratana Independent candidate and one of the 'first cut of the body of the mangai', he stood against Pomare again in 1928, and against Taite Te Tomo in 1931. He was elected in 1935, joining fellow Ratana MP Eruera Tirikatene. In 1936, he joined the Labour Party as the Ratana Movement and Labour formed a political alliance. He was re-elected in 1938 and 1943.[2]

In his maiden speech in October 1937, Toko Ratana raised the principal political issue of Ratana - land grievances and the Treaty of Waitangi. He was to speak in the House only four more times. As the designated leader of the Ratana spiritual movement, the debates were left to Tirikatene and the other Ratana members. H.T. Ratana was frequently ill, and spent long periods in hospital.

War efforts[edit]

During the Second World War, Toko Ratana was opposed to conscription but wished to have a home guard manned by Maori to defend their lands. As Kai-Arahi or leader of the Ratana Church, he made a public declaration of the church's support for the war, and supported Maori control over Maori contributions to the war.

Early death[edit]

Haami Tokouru Ratana died on 30 October 1944 after months of illness. He was succeeded both as MP for Western Maori and Ratana Church President by his younger brother, Matiu Ratana.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ballara, Angela (1 September 2010). "'Ratana, Haami Tokouru - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840-1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
  • Henderson, James Mcleod (1963). Ratana The Man, The Church, The Movement (1st ed.) A.H & A.W. Reed Ltd ISBN 0-589-00619-3.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Taite Te Tomo
Member of Parliament for Western Maori
1935–1944
Succeeded by
Matiu Ratana