10:30am – Kia ora, good morning and welcome to Newshub’s live updates of Rātana events on Wednesday.
Today is the day that politicians make the journey to the Pā, traditionally give speeches, and also take media questions. It’s considered the unofficial start of the political year. We will keep you up to date with the key moments here.
Here is a bit of a background on what Rātana is all about:
Rātana celebrations occur in late January each year to mark the birthday of Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, who founded the Rātana church and religious movement in the early 20th century. The Rātana settlement is found south of Whanganui.
The Rātana movement became intertwined with politics in the late 1920s, with a number of members winning Māori electorates. Rātana met with then-Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage in 1936, forming the basis for an alliance with the Labour Party.
The annual gathering is typically seen as the start of the political year, with politicians of many stripes attending and speaking. As well as Luxon, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and representatives of Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori are expected to attend on Wednesday.
The event takes place this year amid contention over the Government’s approach to race relations and the Treaty of Waitangi.