Rātana Pā is gearing up for the January 25 celebration of the birthday of Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, the founder of the Rātana Church and movement.
Between 3000 and 5000 morehu (Rātana adherents) are expected at the settlement near Whanganui for annual celebrations that start on January 23. Everybody is welcome, church hekeretari (secretary) Piki Manuel said.
The celebrations always feature pōwhiri for important guests, sport and activities for youth, entertainment and a big church service and meal on January 25.
Important guests include the Māori King Tūheitia and Ngāti Tuwharetoa dignitaries. New Zealand's opposition parties are welcomed on January 24 at 11am, and Government parties follow at 1.30pm.
Last year singing sensation Stan Walker made an impromptu visit to Ratana during the November 8 celebrations, but Manuel doesn't know of any special guests this month.
"I won't say there's nothing special, because each hui brings something different," she said.
January 25 is the big day. The faithful leave the front of the marae at noon and move to the temple for a church service. After that come closing-off speeches and a brass band performance to entertain.
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Then it's the hakari (feast), followed by the final night of entertainment.
"It's going to be quite a busy, full-on day," Manuel said.
In November 2018 the Church celebrated the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Holy Spirit upon TW Ratana, with around 10,000 in attendance.
"It was a significant milestone for the Church. There are other such important events during the time of Ratana, such as the 1924 First World Tour, that the church may commemorate in some way", Manuel said.
Manuel was elected secretary of the church in November 2018. She also works fulltime for Palmerston North's MASH Trust, which provides health and social services.
She is one of those co-ordinating the celebrations.