The Rathaman was here right from the beginning, but for me the beginning was the word and the word was God. God is not blond-haired, blue-eyed, God is brown. We're Rasta - everything we do is for Rastafarai.
The town of Ruatoria is a unique remote East Coast settlement. Several years ago disagreements over land subject to claim but owned extensively by one family and the subject of sales to foreign interests, brought a wild series of fire-bombings and violent confronatation, culminating in the death of Rastafarian Chris Campbell. The Dreads are endeavouring to put this violent period behind them and to develop a living relationship with the land and the natural resources in an area which is low in employment, leaving many people dependent on welfare. They are critical of a system which ties them down in regulations and limits their capacity to use the resources they do receive in ways they believe would best develop their independence and self-reliance.
They are concerned that the land and its resources are being plundered by a greedy society and even the seed of the herb of the earth which God gave us appropriated, patented and controlled by corporate interests.
The Rastafarian green red and gold with Selassie.
The Dreads are Rastafarians and follow the same one God, Yah, as the Jews through the line of the Queen of Sheba the Ethiopian monarchy. This tradition was then carried by slavery to Jamaica and the US. "Haille Selassie is the 252 nd King from the line of Solomon the son of David. The second coming of Jesus Christ in his kingly form, the line of David, the union of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba a line of royalty that was held throughout the history of Ethiopia." They believe all peoples will eventually be united under the red, green and gold.
The Maori Dreads combine their Rasta teaching with the teachings of Te Kooti. Following Te Kooti's example, the Dread gather on the twevfth day of each month for the Rah.
Ringatu - the "upraised hand" was a religion developed by Te Kooti Rikirangi during his imprisonment without trial on the Chatham Islands. On his escape back to New Zealand, he staged a successful guerilla war. Many of Te Kooti;s teachings reminded his people of the story of the Jews in the Old Testament, who had been driven out of the land of Israel and had wandered in the wilderness until God brought them back to Jerusalem. The Maoris too had lost their land and been harshly treated. To Kooti taught his people to beware of the Pakeha (white man) that had been inspired by Satan. Te Kooti taught them that in his matakite (visions) God had promised the he would save Maoris, just as he had saved the Jews. Christianity is regarded as a failed deviation which has not delivered on its promise to humanity as a whole and has not served the Maori people because it has aided colonization and the assimilation of Maori culture.
Te Toko Whitu - Dread, 10 - Dread
Te Toko: The tools we pick up today, theyre not weapons of violence, but instruments of freedom, and which the difference is we don't use them to enslave but to fight for our freedom. The philosophy which holds one race superior and the other inferior is finally permanently discredited. We yearn for peace, we do. But you can't count on real justice.
10: Ngati Dread ... preaching the gospel of the father, which is unity to all people, not just Maori people but every people whether they are Chinese or Indian or whatever. We are the living force of God's people, of Maori descent. We're proud of our Maori descent but we know that the devils not number one, God is.
The Moku (Tatoo): We are criticized by the old people because what we are doing is very Tapu. That we know because we are doing it for God.
The Power of the Trinity - Dread, Marijuana on the Rasta tri-colours, Rasta herb.
We know for a fact that amongst ourselves and other when we use the herb, it brings us to a point of reason, where we're not fighting and we can sit down and talk. That's the healing of the nations, because it's worldwide. You can go right around the world and no matter where you go, theyre using it. I believe, it because nothing that God has made is bad, it's man that's made it bad. God said that he would give you every seed-bearing herb and you would plant it and you would see that it was good" - Power of the Trinity - Dread.
Mt Hikurangi is the local sacred mountain in Biblical likeness.