Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been given a second name for the baby she is expecting.

At Rātana yesterday the chairman of the Rātana Church, Andre Meihana, gave the baby the name "Waru". It means "eight", a reference to November 8, 1918.

That was the day Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana was visited by the Holy Spirit, and it began the Rātana movement and later a church with 60,000 faithful.

Its centennial will be celebrated by thousands at the village near Whanganui this year, and Ms Ardern is invited.

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"I'm looking forward to it, and all the help we can offer for those significant celebrations," she said.

The baby will become "our mokopuna", Mr Meihana said, and seal the Rātana/Labour deals of the past.

The Pirihimia (Prime Minister) arrived at Rātana about 11am, and was blessed at the Rātana temple before walking onto the marae with MPs from New Zealand First and the Green Party.

Her use of te reo Māori brought applause and her pregnancy added a new dimension to her reception by Māori.

"It's warming and significant to us. We have an opportunity to connect with her on another level," one woman in the crowd said.

Green Party leader James Shaw speaks at Rātana. Photo/ Stuart Munro Wanganui Chronicle
Green Party leader James Shaw speaks at Rātana. Photo/ Stuart Munro Wanganui Chronicle

Green Party leader James Shaw referred to Ms Ardern as "baby mama", and she said Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is the baby's godfather.

She wasn't so sure about adding "Waru" as a name. The baby already has a lot of possible middle names that would take up extra space on a birth certificate.

In his speech to the new government Mr Meihana said a petition first presented to Parliament in the 1930s by TW Rātana still needs action. It asks that the Treaty of Waitangi be put into New Zealand law.

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Feeding and housing unfortunate people is important, but putting the treaty into "statute law" should come first, he said.

"The next thing is to do with you and I - that Māori and Pakeha live under brotherhood. It's about two nations coming together to make one great nation."

He told the Chronicle there have been prophecies about women's role.

"Helen Clark played her part, and some things never happened. But another woman comes."

The new Labour-led government has a record number of Māori MPs, Ms Ardern said, and it carries a huge weight of responsibility and expectation. She wants Māori to hold it accountable, as its own members will.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Māori Development Mininster Nanaia Mahuta get the best seats at the pōwhiri. Photo/ Stuart Munro Wanganui Chronicle
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Māori Development Mininster Nanaia Mahuta get the best seats at the pōwhiri. Photo/ Stuart Munro Wanganui Chronicle

The alliance between TW Rātana and Labour leader Michael Joseph Savage is more than a matter of history, she said.

"We will never have fulfilled our obligations until we make sure Māori are no longer overrepresented in unemployment statistics, in our prison population, that they no longer have tamariki in poverty and our rangatahi, especially in the regions, have every opportunity for a decent job and a decent future."

She wants "a clean, green and carbon neutral country", and to be part of a government that "brings back manaakitanga, ethics and compassion".

"We will have to turn to Māoridom for that," she said, referring to the way marae took in people affected by the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes.

Winston Peters kept his speech short. Photo/ Stuart Munro Wanganui Chronicle
Winston Peters kept his speech short. Photo/ Stuart Munro Wanganui Chronicle

Winston Peters was clearly delighted to be part of a government that aims to provide first world housing, jobs and health.

His family has connections with the Rātana movement, and he said it also knows a bit about fishing.

"You need the right talent, the right tide, the right boat and the right crew and a whole lot of patience. Now, I know you have been patient, and it's arrived."