Soaring waiata, stirring oratory and plenty of laughter dominated the Ratana celebrations, but political manoeuvring took centre stage.

And while the Labour Government may have secured the support of the Ratana Church leader, a division between two of his sons - one a Labour party candidate, the other a Maori Party supporter - shows the church faithful are not guaranteed to follow.

Ratana Church tumuaki (leader) Harerangi Meihana, a supporter of the Helen Clark-led Labour Government, has backed an alliance forged between the church and the Labour Party in 1935.

Mr Meihana has confirmed his support by putting forward son Errol to contest the Te Tai Hauauru seat currently held by Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia.

But another son, Andre Meihana, has criticised the move and thrown his support behind the Maori Party.

Andre Meihana said that, if asked, he would stand for the Maori Party, which better followed the philosophy of church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

He has also questioned his brother's sincerity in standing for Labour.

"At the end of the day he is taking orders from the heart. That is the difference between him and I.

"I am a staunch believer of the Treaty of Waitangi. Ratana was known as the man who carried two books - the Bible and the treaty.

"My brother promises to push the treaty when he gets into Parliament. I have seen that and seen what has been done with the foreshore and seabed issue. And I don't trust them [the Government]."

He said he wanted his brother to follow the wishes of the people.

"I support what the Maori Party support. They have made the Treaty of Waitangi the cornerstone of their party."

Mrs Turia said she would consider Andre Meihana for a position on the Maori Party list if he had the support of the people.

Errol Meihana said he was disappointed by his brother's criticism, and denied being forced by tradition to join Labour.

"I'll admit I was reluctant at first."

But he believed he could make a difference for his people.

"The kaupapa of what Mr Ratana left was the treaty. The Treaty of Waitangi is the cornerstone of the Maori Party.

"I think the difference between the Maori Party and Labour is down to interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"People talk about the intent of this clause, the intent of that clause. Funnily enough, we all have an interpretation of intent.

"I am not your average politician. I admitted that from the word go. I come from a working-class background, 27 years in the meat industry. What I think is missing in there [Parliament] is a bit of commonsense."

Errol Meihana said he brought a strong lineage that would serve him well in politics.

"I look at my predecessors, my uncle, my grand-aunties. The standard has been set and I am just following in the footsteps."

Church spokesman Wayne Johnson distanced himself from divisions over party support.

"Ratana members vote individually, they are not told how to vote."

He also disagreed with suggestions Errol Meihana's appointment was driven by his father.

"Errol has a strong background working for the church and for his people. He has a clean background, which is important in politics."

Mr Johnson said while the Maori Party's profile was strong in Ratana for the two-day celebrations, people were yet to make up their minds whom to support.

"Let's see some policy, and some candidates. How many from the morehu will be represented in the party? You can promise the world, but you have to know how you are going to pay for it."

As for the Maori Party's lack of fiscal policy: "Maori have shown they are good at wealth distribution. What about wealth creation?"