My dad is ill and I’m off to Whanganui to visit him tomorrow.
My journey will take me past this beautiful church in Raetihi. It’s a journey I make regularly, but I’ve only once managed to stop and photograph it.
It’s slightly unusual design is characteristic of churches built for worshipers of the Rātana faith. The Rātana church was founded in 1925 by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, a Maori spiritual leader who also campaigned for social justice and racial equality.
The church, and the movement it forged, continue to play important political, social role and religious roles in New Zealand life. Annual celebrations of Rātana’s birth attract thousands of people (including the country’s politicians) to his home marae at Rātana Pā, just outside Whanganui.