Alf has been invited to spare a thought for Chester Borrows, the National MP for Whanganui, who has made a dick of himself at Ratana.
He backed into a car “in front of a gaggle of chortling political journos”.
This news prompted Alf to spare some thoughts for the hacks in the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
“A gaggle of chortling journos” pretty well sums them up in just a few words.
As for Chester Borrows, frankly Alf finds him a bit of a plod and not his favourite person in the caucus.
Moreover Alf was not invited to be one of the MPs who travelled with Borrows to the Ratana celebrations.
This is just as well, as it turns out.
According to the NZ Herald report which invites us to spare a thought for Chester:
Driving a people-mover with five Tory MP colleagues aboard, Borrows pranged into Annette King’s car, or rather her hubby’s. A Mercedes-Benz.
Maybe he couldn’t see past his chattering passengers, or past the straw trilby he insisted on sporting, but Borrows must have heard the hoots of laughter emanating from the sidelines.
Luckily there was no damage – well, to the car.
Resident Labour stirrer Trevor Mallard was overheard gossiping that Borrows and King “are cousins and this must be a family feud”.
While a tad miffed at not being invited to travel with Borrows, Alf is bound to say that if he had been invited he would have declined.
Frankly, he is gob-smacked at the way politicians so desperately want to be seen there.
They apparently feel a powerful urge to join hundreds of visitors including church denominations and international guests who annually commemorate the birth of the Ratana Church’s founder, Tahu Potiki Wiremu Ratana.
Politicians make annual pilgrimage to Ratana.
To do what? To pay homage to an indigenous person who claimed to have seen a vision, back in 1918. He regarded this vision as divinely inspired, asking him to preach the gospel to the Māori people, to destroy the power of the tohunga and to cure the spirits and bodies of his people.
More likely the pollies want to be seen posturing and grand-standing in a pathetically desperate bid to win votes from the followers of a feller who became known as the “Maori Miracle Man”?
Alf tends to be sceptical about people who have visions, unless they have over-imbibed.
Anyway he has better things to do and he proceeded to do them, around the corner at the Eketahuna Club, while the pollies did their thing.
Just how welcome the political pilgrims might be is a moot point. The Ratana Church this year limited the amount of time they could speak on the marae.
Te Tai Hauāuru MP, Adrian Rurawhe, who is also a Ratana Church member, said the church has decided to put the focus back on what the celebration is really about.Today, hundreds of more visitors including various political parties, church denominations and international guests will be given a pōwhiri as they come to commemorate the birth of church’s founder, Tahu Potiki Wiremu Ratana.
Te Tai Hauāuru MP, Adrian Rurawhe, who is also a Ratana Church member, said the church has decided to put the focus back on what the celebration is really about.
He said it was not until 1996 that all political parties started visiting the Pā. Before then it was only the Labour Party, to which T.W. Ratana aligned himself and the church, that made the annual pilgrimage.
Mr Rurawhe said church elders have decided to shorten the amount of time dedicated to politics and instead of having a separate pōwhiri for each political party there will now only be two official welcomes for groups of politicians.
Rurawhe said this meant the event would not be dominated by politics and there would be more time to acknowledge T.W. Ratana.
To see things from a Maori perspective, let’s check out this report, which before the event said Ratana Pa was readying itself “for tomorrow’s onslaught of MPs and media”.
This report said the appearance of politicians from all parties at the annual celebration of the birth of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana is seen as a way of testing Maori sentiment at the start of the political year.
Labour’s new Te Tai Hauauru MP Adrian Rurawhe, who has been attending the hui since childhood, says until the advent of MMP in 1986 it was usually only Labour MPs who attended, in acknowledgement of the close links between the two movements dating back to the 1930s.
He says for morehu or church members it’s only a small part of a five-day hui that is mainly concentrated on sports and entertainment for rangatahi.
“We’ve got it down to just two powhiri. It used to be a powhiri for each political party but now it’s just two, one for the government parties and one for the opposition, so it has truncated down which for those who are not interested in politics, that’s a good thing because people complain about it taking up too much time on the marae,” Mr Rurawhe says.
Get the picture.
We pollies can quickly out-stay our welcome and be nothing much more than a pain in the arse.