Ratana worshipers are mourning the loss of a great leader, Harerangi Meihana (Harry Mason).
Harerangi (pictured), aged 87, had been unwell for some time and passed away peacefully at his home in Ratana, surrounded by his whānau this morning.
The church leader was ordained in 1999, and became the movement’s seventh Tumuaki or president, and was the grandson of the church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.
“He was a loving man, who focused on whānau and focused on his faith,” said Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson.
“The legacy that he leaves behind is his steadfast approach to the kaupapa that was left by his grandfather. He always maintained his strength and love for God and the teachings of the māramatanga of his grandfather.”
Harerangi was a stalwart for Kotahitanga for the Māori people and stood alongside Te Arikinui Tūheitia Paki, Tā Tumu Te Heuheu, and Wirangi Pera the Poutikanga for the Ringatu Church.
“While he had an unyielding faith in God, he was also a rugby fan and a fantastic pianist, who played alongside some of our best Māori musicians. He loved the All Blacks but was an avid supporter of the Ratana Māramatanga Sports Club.”
“People were at the forefront of every decision he made as a leader in the Union and in the church. He also made it obvious and evident that he was a staunch Labour Party supporter.
“He wasn’t afraid to make uncomfortable decisions in his tenure as Tumuaki of the church. For him it was always about, what was best for the people?
“While his passing will be a huge loss to his whānau, I know he now joins the love of his life, his late wife Hohipera Betty Meihana, so my condolence goes out to them at this time,” Minister Jackson said.
Harerangi is survived by his numerous tamariki, mokopuna, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.