Ngāti Rānana just before a TV performance in the UK called Songs of The Maori, which was presented by New Zealand actress Barbara Ewing.(Standing, from left) Timoti Karetu, Lindsay Hounsell, Hemi Wiremu, Tom Russell, Freer Crawford, Gavin Clark (a TV director), and Barbara Ewing. (Kneeling) Margaret Smith, Marie Morehu, Louie Tawhai, Phyllis Komene.


The history of Ngāti Rānana

Ngāti Rānana have been performing and sharing their culture since 1958 when a group of New Zealand travellers would meet in London at Putney Pa to exchange their experiences, share news from home and speak Māori. Meeting people from other countries became the prime motivation; to embrace all people into the group regardless of race, creed or colour, something that continues to be paramount in Ngāti Rānana’s purpose today.


Ngāti Rānana’s first engagement was with New Zealand House, assisting the Public Relations Officer in hosting his guests one evening. In Dec 1958 the group represented New Zealand at the annual International Dance Festival at the Royal Albert Hall with an audience of 5000. And being given the Green Room as a dressing room, were the VIP group of the concert. And so Ngāti Rānana came of age that day in Dec 1958. Sixty years later these groups of dancers continue to meet at Cecil Sharp House in Regents Park and Ngati Ranana continues to share their annual concert.


In 1969 the Cinema in New Zealand House became the club Marae, a Constitution was drawn up and the group became Ngati Ranana – The London Maori Group.


The uniqueness of Ngati Ranana is that whilst it does have a strong kapa haka teaching/learning role, it remains a purely voluntary, non-political, non-profit making cultural group - a global whanau in a non-Maori environment - an outpost 12,000 miles from Aotearoa and therefore having to rely mainly on its own resources. Another aspect of Ngati Ranana is that it offers two-way comfort of family (Whanaungatanga), unity (Kotahitanga), and caring (Manaakitanga).


Ngati Ranana does have a whānau that is resident in London and they do have turangawaewae rights that should be respected. At the same time they benefit from the wealth of knowledge and teaching that new arrivals bring with them which commands respect too. Therefore transient members benefit from having a ‘home away from home in London; whilst the whānau in London benefit from the knowledge of te reo and taha Māori that our young travellers bring with them.


Ngati Ranana tikanga, kawa, mauri and mana... are of paramount importance and members benefit from biannual wananga on these topics, held in Spring and Autumn.