|Doctrines|| ||The Maori religious movements which have lasted longest and retained the largest membership are Ringatu and Ratana, now both regarded as Maori Christian churches.|
Ringatu was founded by the prophet Te Kooti Rikirangi Te Turuki (c.1830-1893) after divine revelations. From his reading of the Bible Te Kooti saw himself as a Hebrew-style prophet and, like Moses, sought to lead his people to liberation under the direction of Jehovah. While this movement's origin is in protest against European colonialism, its theology has altered and the Ringatu Church is now an indigenous Christian denomination.
Ratana, named for its founder, Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana (1873-1939), combined spiritual and political elements in order to unite the people under God. The main difference between this and other churches was the replacement of the Christian Trinity with a quinary of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Faithful Angels, and the Mouthpiece of God, Ratana himself.
|History|| ||When European missionaries arrived in New Zealand in the early 1800s with the aim of converting the Maori to the Christian religion the new teachings they brought were very different but several factors helped ensure their adoption. The appeal of literacy and the written scriptures, and the material goods brought by the missionaries were presumed 'proof' of the power of the European God. Introduced diseases, the loss of land, and the consequent breakdown of the traditional social set-up, also served to persuade the people to convert to the new beliefs. |
The transition was aided by a series of indigenous movements which emphasized specific characteristics in different periods. In the 1830s and 1840s they often either rejected certain Christian teachings or picked up on millennial ideas and proclaimed a form of Second Coming of Christ. In the 1850s, in response to epidemics of new diseases, the emphasis was on healing. In the latter half of the 1800s a series of biblical-style prophets arose to lead the people in mainly liberation-style movements. In the 1900s the response was one of establishing Maori Christian churches - many of which are still active today.
|Symbols|| ||Ringatu means "upraised hand", this symbol being used by that Church today. Its origin was a gesture of protection in warfare, but this was altered by Te Kooti to signify homage to God and the blessings of the prophets. Services of worship are held on the twelfth of each month - this date having historical and biblical significance.|
The main symbol of the Ratana Church is a five-pointed star representing the five-fold elements of divinity, resting on an upturned crescent moon with the words "T.W. Ratana".
Other post-contact symbols are stars, comets, moon, lizard, angels, Bible, trumpet, and flags. The use of biblical imagery was frequent. During the 1800s, as a gesture of protest, the sabbath was often observed on Saturday, but now Sunday is the common day.
|Adherents|| ||New Zealand 1991 census figures show that Maori churches claim a total of 1.7% (56,367) of the population, with Ratana the largest with 47,592, and Ringatu numbering 8,052. Both churches have increased in membership over recent years.|
| ||The Ratana Church is centred at Ratana, a village in Taranaki province, North Island, New Zealand.|
Ringatu membership is largely concentrated in the northern half of the island.