T.W. Ratana 'iconic portrait' and Healing Hands
Two powerful prints from the brush of top New Zealand surrealist and portrait painter Paula Novak.

 One of New Zealand's most skilled portrait artists Paula Novak  brings together the key symbols and elements to celebrate the life of Maori prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

T.W. Ratana iconic portrait. From the skilled artistry of one of New Zealand's most skilled portrait artists Paula Novak  brings together the key symbols and elements to celebrate the life of Maori prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

 In 1918 Ratana and his family were fishing at the mouth of the Whangaehu River when two whales came crashing to the shore. One died after thrashing about on the shore and was used to provide oil for the lanterns at Ratana Pa during the early days of Ratana's healing ministry. The other whale revived after Ratana carved his name on its side and whispered to it to go to the four corners of the world and return when his work was completed .

The first whale named after Ratana's son Arepa (Alpha) was known as the 'Bible whale' representing the Ture Wairua or spiritual works and the second was identified with his son Omeka (Omega) was the 'Treaty whale' representing the Ture Tangata or the physical works. Ratana took the encounter with the whales as a sign that he had been called to help his people.

Shortly after he had a vision confirming this with the voice of the Wairua Tapu (Holy Spirit) telling him to heal the sick and call the Maori people away from their superstitions and belief in the 'old gods' to unite under Ihoa o nga Manu (Jehovah of the Multitudes).

This iconic portrait features the Ratana whetu marama (star and moon) tohu or symbol representing Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the angels and the enlightenment that Ratana was to bring to the Maori people as Mangai or mouthpiece representing the Maori political or Kotahitangi (unity) movement and the long lineage of Maori prophets who had pointed to his arising between the two world wars.

 Over his right shoulder is the Ratana Temple, over his left is Mt Taranaki and the flow from Te Rere O Kapuni the waterfall of the prophets. To his front right is the symbolic geranium he planted from his garden at the site of the present day Beehive, saying one day he would pluck a flower from it and its pollen would be blown to the four winds. Ratana, as he had prophesied, ended up with his representatives taking all four Maori seats in Parliament.

Front left is the Paipera Tapu (Bible). Ratana was a true believer in the Bible. He healed many thousands in the name of Ihu Karaiti (Tama, the Son) and urged his people to read the Bible. He said he held the Bible in his right hand and the Treaty of Waitangi in his left, if everything was put right spiritually the physical works would take care of themselves.

This painting was created by Paula Novak for inclusion in the new book Ratana - the Prophet (Penguin 2009) and the first copies of this 300 print limited edition were given to key members in the Ratana movement.

New book
Ratana - the Prophet (Raupo Penguin Group) Available from the author at the special price $35 plus $5 postage.

See also Bible & Treaty (Penguin (2010) by Keith Newman

Healing Hands, with  Mt Taranaki as the backdrop to a heavenly waterfall and rainbow is symbolic of personal healing and renewal. The canvas speaks strongly about restoration and healing of the land around Taranaki after the turbulent conflicts over Maori land between the 1860s - 1880s.

The pearls on the foreshore represent treasures that time reveals after hardship, in the same way a pearl is formed from grit or sand in an oyster shell. The pearls ultimately reflect the colours of the rainbow arch above them, a sign of new beginnings and unity of all people and tribes of New Zealand.

The healing hands emerging from the clouds above the mountain are those of Ihoa O Nga Mano (Jehovah of the Multitudes) and the water pouring from them is symbolic of Maori prophet Riwha Titokowaru’s waterfall, where chosen children were once blessed for a spiritual mission. The waterfall was later renamed Te Rere O Kapuni (now Victoria Falls just above Dawson Falls) by the prophet and political visionary Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, who would often go there between the 1920s and late 1930s with a group of his followers to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Ratana’s main call was for a return to reverencing the two core foundational documents of the nation, the Bible and the Treaty of Waitangi, and for unity under one God.

The pearls, could also represent economic and spiritual wealth, and the powerful legacy of handling conflict through non-violent and peaceful resistance as demonstrated by Parihaka chiefs Te Whiti O Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi.

The original ‘Healing Hands’ acrylic on canvas painting by Paula Novak is 80 x 100cm  in dimension and owned by a New Plymouth business woman.  

The first prints from a limited edition of 300 copies of ‘Healing Hands’ were presented to the president of the Ratana church and movement Harerangi Meihana, former Labour MP Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan and senior apostles of the Ratana faith, at the launch of the book Ratana Revisited by Keith Newman in July 2006. Now for the first time copies are being made available for public sale.

A3 prints on quality card suitable for framing $35
 A4 size prints n quality card suitable for framing $20
Postage add $5 within New Zealand
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Ratana Revisited - An Unfinished Legacy by Keith Newman Reed, (2006) Remaining limited  first edition signed copies now available from the author at $100 plus postage within New Zealand.
Very few remaining.