"We're trying to spark up people's life force to bring them back to fullness."
This story is part of Re:’s Belief Week. From young people who are celibate, to New Zealand’s first Wicca church, we take a look at what belief, religion and spirituality mean today. Check out the rest of the stories here.
Re:’s reo Māori series Ohinga has been given special access to a service held by the Rātana Movement - a Māori religious group. A young spiritual leader of the faith, Raniera Pene, says many younger Māori are still drawn to become Morehu - followers of the faith.

Tens of thousands follow the Rātana Movement which was founded by the prophet Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana in the early 1900s. 

Although the church’s headquarters are situated at Rātana Pā in the Whanganui region, followers gather at Sunday services throughout Aotearoa. 

Āpōtoro Wairua (spiritual leader) Raniera (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāpuhi) gathered with dozens of rangatahi in Tāmaki Makaurau earlier this month.  

Raniera grew up in a strict, religious home and found strength in practicing his beliefs when his mother went through a serious health scare. He now holds mass for a community of followers and works towards creating a space and place to welcome rangatahi to connect with God. 

“Sometimes our job is to come and pray for people to uplift their well-being,” he says. 

“It’s really about us as rangatahi being confident about who we are as Rātana, as Mōrehu, as well as being confident enough to express that in a way that we believe.”

“The big thing about this is that even though I’m wearing a uniform, the belief is open to everyone, this doesn’t make me special at all, everyone’s got the power to communicate with God.”

This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi Media, with funding from Te Māngai Pāho and the NZ on Air Public Interest Journalism Fund.

Stay tuned for a new episode every week.

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