Ratana the Prophet

by Keith Newman

Timely revised edition of Ratana biography highlights lasting legacy of the church and movement he founded

When politicians descend onto a small pā near Whanganui every January to kick off the political year, the Ratana name is on everyone’s lips.

The prophet T.W. Ratana


Yet the life of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, and the history and workings of his church and movement, are less known.

At a time where co-governance and The Treaty of Waitangi are at the centre of political debate, the revised edition of Ratana the Prophet is a timely publication.

Keith Newman tells Ratana’s life story, from his early days as a hard-working farmer, heavy drinker and gambler to the ‘divine’ encounters where he picked up the mantle of earlier Māori prophets, turning the people from fear and superstition and healing them physically.

Between the two world wars he travelled the country and the world championing Māori mana, and the restoration of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi as Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding document.

One of the superb Ans Westra photos that illustrate Ratana the Prophet

Newman carefully traces the activities and influence of the Ratana movement from its foundation in 1918 to the present-day community of around 40,000 followers, and offers a comprehensive account of the lasting impact of Ratana’s spiritual, social and political vision.

Based on more than 20 years of research and interviews, this revised edition of the original 2009 publication is updated to take in the events of the 2010s and early 2020s. It includes previously undisclosed material, much of it translated into English for the first time.

For more information and commentary, check out these reports on the book from Te Ao Māori News and E-Tangata.


The author

Keith Newman is a writer with 50 years’ experience across mainstream, trade, business and music media. He began his research into the life of T.W. Ratana in 1986, leading two decades later to his books Ratana Revisited (2006) and the original Ratana the Prophet (2009). Keith has two children and six grandchildren, lives with his wife Paula in Haumoana, Hawke’s Bay.






Publication: 7 May 2024  |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004258-4 | RRP $45.00

Paperback, 230 x 153 mm portrait, 284 pages, colour and b&w