With Jacinda Ardern overseas it will be Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters who leads the coalition government onto Rātana Pā on Thursday.

The Rātana Church and Movement celebrate the birthday of their founder, Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana on January 25. He was born on that day in 1873.

There is always a special church service, entertainment and feasting at the pā to mark his birthday. New Zealand politicians generally pay their respects to Māoridom by being present on the preceding day.

Livestreaming of the event started on Tuesday, rangatahi livestreaming co-ordinator Lequan Meihana said. Yesterday Whanganui Iwi from the Tira Hoe Waka were welcomed. Today Ngāti Tuwharetoa arrive at 11am, all churches and iwi at 1pm and the Ringatu Church at 3pm.


On Thursday the governing Labour Party and its coalition partners is welcomed onto the marae at 11am, led by Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters. He will give the Prime Minister's speech, church spokesman Mita Ririnui said.

"She will give her vision for the next 12 months, and the achievements of the last 12 months."

More announcements about Government help with Rātana housing are expected.

The opposition parties arrive at about 1pm and Waikato's Kingitanga contingent arrives at 3pm.

On Friday there's a big service in the Rātana temple, followed by a hakari (feast) for dignitaries. Across the event there will also be entertainment on the big marae stage and a youth (rangatahi) stage.

Big name entertainers include Luke Whaanga and the women's reggae group NRG Rising.

Young people will be playing volleyball, basketball and touch on Wednesday and Thursday, Meihana said, as well as livestreaming the event and having wānanga (workshops).

On November 8 last year the pā hosted a huge celebration marking the 100 years since Rātana was visited by the Holy Spirit, the event that began the movement. Thousands attended.


Because of that this year's birthday celebration could be smaller than usual - but at least 5000 people are expected.