May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Destiny Church and Brian Tamaki (Jevan Goulter)

11 min read

Remember when Brian Tamaki got a bunch of eye candy in 2004 and marched down a street with fists waving in the air screaming enough is enough as the civil union bill was being passed.

Remember Georgina Beyer running down the steps of parliament screaming and glaring in disgust into the eyes of the enemy.

It seems while Destiny Church has an overwhelmingly large following, they are also regarded by much of mainstream New Zealand as Nazis.

One man who I am sure must have the most amazing business plan, can coordinate a march of 6,000 people, can insight fear into those groups he aims to oppress and oppose is also the same man that somehow managed to land himself a handful of New Zealands politicians on one stage sitting together last night.

It is hard enough for most people to get a politician to turn up to an event, especially Maori Party Co Leader Pita Sharples who turns up to less events than he does hot dinners, and yet they all marched into Destinys Church in Auckland last night to share a stage and utilize their 8 minutes of speaking time.

For a gay male, I was somewhat unaware what to expect when arriving at Destiny and I should add now I was there to support The Mana Movement and leader Hone Harawira, and more so the fact it was a political event so it would not have mattered where it was I would have gone regardless, although aware as to why all my friends refused to attend.

While approaching down the street there is what appears to be a security head quarters building, with men in orange jackets dressed in black standing outside on the street directing traffic and making sure cars are stopped for people to cross the road safely. A good handful of men on the door, whether to greet or provide security to the premises I was somewhat unsure.

I took the time to have a ciggy off premise as is the rule of Destiny, where I spoke to one of the traffic directors come security guard and Tamaki follower. The situation where he quite obviously knew that I was gay kept us speaking for about 15 minutes. He told me about before coming to Destiny how he would earn $30,000 per annum and now how he and his wife earn over $100,000 per annum, crediting that to Brian Tamaki and the work that he has done in their lives. He told me that there is no more tinny houses for him and his wife was no longer an alcoholic. He continued to say he addresss Brian Tamaki as Bishop Tamaki and that is the relationship he has with him. There was some sense of brain washing there, however no more than what other groups do to people, and nothing worse than what the Labour Party does to their members.

On entering the church it is beautiful, the people are lovely (even towards a gay like me) and the men and woman by majority are truly quite stunning! To some extent it is almost another generation, another type or another breed of Maori.

The evening was the opening night of Destiny churches annual conference with speeches from Hone Harawira, Pita Sharples, Tau Henare and Shane Jones to take the opportunity in addressing the congregation.

With such a large congregation in attendance it was surprising that we (the Mana Movement) were the only people to have a strong presence there. We handed out fliers for two hours solid with two of our signs and 4 of us all decked out in Mana gears.

An opportunity I would have assumed every other political affiliation there would have taken the chance to self promote as well. Not one person walked into Destiny Church without a Hone Harawira, Mana Movement flier as we made sure that everybody there had the opportunity to be educated. To add the cherry on the top, the Hone Harawira bus, trailers and cars that arrived were a powerful message on its own.

Everybody wanted the fliers to the point where people were asking for them including those staff members on the door, now tell me what other political party gets that sort of response where people are literally trying to rip the product out of your hands.

There were mixed messages as to whether our signs were allowed inside the church, as different people said yes and then no followed by the same people saying yes and then no which led to 5 trips backwards and forwards from the car carting them around. It would seem that the flow chart was not so easily flowing and there may have been the problem of too many chiefs and not enough Indians, however every person that spoke to us was exceptionally polite and offered as many alternative solutions as possible.

The one thing I found a little hilarious was that Destiny church referred to the politicians as VIPS which I personally thought was a bit of a joke, and were escorted in with Bishop Tamaki by an entourage of black suits.

While beginning and watching as the guests (politicians) were invited in with Brian Tamaki by way of Maori protocol I sat in awe as I watched the group perform on stage, dozens of men and woman, stunning and beautiful, in fact potentially the best that I have seen. Absolutely amazing and such a beautiful start to the night, I really had to remind myself where I was and not to get overly excited.

Those of you that think Mika the Maori has great haka dancing boys have not seen Destiny church who have Amazing haka dancing men, the men on that stage were absolutely stunning and I could not stop looking to tell the truth. My eyes and mind started doing naughty things inside the house of god. Between me and my girl friend sitting next to me we were having a good ole time having a good ole look. In all fairness the women were beautiful as well!

After this point when everybody was seated, a host took to the stage, Destiny school performed and the evening jumped straight into it with the politicians taking their seats. I was expecting Brian Tamaki to hop on the stage and start talking about himself, however to my surprise he was barely mentioned and remained seated quietly at the front where he sat like the rest of us as we watched. Turns out he did not need to speak about himself though, as every politician did that for him.

Shane Jones (Lab) started first, In all honesty his speech was so stimulating that other than him stating Bishop Tamaki you have done so much, Bishop Tamaki thank you for letting me come this evening and Destiny Church you have done so much for New Zealand, I really cannot remember anything else that he spoke about.

Tau Henare (Nat) was next, replacing Georgina Te heu heu who probably made a common sense decision that she did not need to be there, Tau took to the microphone for his few minutes of standup comedy, the jokes without the substance behind it. He left the congregation with the slogan of why not. Why not National?

He made very sure though to admire Bishop Tamaki, thank Bishop Tamaki and raise the man up on a golden stool, I tell you everybody was playing the game that evening and Brian must have had a wet ass by the end of the evening with all of them kissing it.

Next up was Hone Harawira who clearly received the loudest applause. Unlike the other speaker who quickly begun by praising Tamaki, Hone took a different approach, congratulating Tamakis wife (often referred to in a straight relationship as the neck that turns the head) for the work and support she provides in their relationship and referring it back to his wife, who does the exact same thing. He continued by saying I am here because Ratana invited me. Something that has become apparent to me is that Hone will go where ever invited to speak to his people.

Hone took a different approach also, he credited Destiny church for the work that they had done, he talked about how despite what people think, Destiny Church have helped those and got them on their feet when nobody else has. Hone also maybe made the dangerous move of stating how followers on face book deterred and attacked him from attending the evening, but in saying that of course he should have turned up. This is a group that achieved %0.5 of a party vote in the last election, which if you are the Mana Movement or Maori Party, can impact quite a lot. Majority of this congregation are Maori and despite their religious beliefs, they do need to be represented in the New Zealand House of Representatives. So why on earth would you not turn up

Hone Harawira was the only speaker who credited the movement and the people for their success as opposed to playing Bishop Tamakis handbag.

The host then told Hone Harawira that if failing in the by-election he could easily take up a position as a preacher.

Next up was Bishop Tamakis backpack, Pita Sharples who in all honesty just put us all to sleep, justifying to the congregation why Maori party were working with the National Party and stating why it was ok that they played the transalation service for the National Party. He also made sure everyone knew that he had been to Destiny Church in the past (when he had no competition).

Other people present were Solomon Tipene and Kelvin Davis (both candidates who will lose in the by-election of Tai Tokerau) and another National Member of Parliament.

One thing that held a group consensus was that politicians come and go but Destiny church will remain.

Next up to speak, an hour later, was Bishop Tamaki. He spoke about Destiny church and what it had done, and what it will continue to do, he spoke of the things they had achieved and questioned why they were left to work with either none or their own resources and mentioned missing out on the Whanau Ora contract, yet questioned why his workers were still head hunted for it. He questioned why they were not funded when looking at everything they did for the community, I could have answered it straight away by standing up and saying Because you march against the rights and freedom of speech against other people, while being the only church in New Zealand that still believes gay people should be physically stoned to death which Bishop Tamaki was quoted as saying 2004.

He said he wanted to have the sort of relationship with the politicians where I can ring you up and talk to you about things and moved on in saying If you guys do not do it then I will have to raise my own politicians. Wake up call Mr Tamaki, you tried that at the last election remember, and completely failed. He spoke about how he could never reduce his role and drop into the lower position of standing himself and took about 2 minutes to pray for the politicians on stage.

When it comes to microphone technique, Hone was the only speaker confident enough to move on the stage and hold the microphone in his hand. I was surprised actually at how far behind Bishop Tamaki fell in terms of lacking in microphone skills obviously not utilizing it as well as other speakers had. I would have thought that he would outshine the rest but when watching him on stage his skill and craft of how to use the instrument is not as polished as a seasoned politician (even if you are the Bishop).

When the ceremony ended it turned out I knew a few people present, and chatted comfortably with members of the church, I also shared my views as well while respecting that I was in their house. I then went with Hone upstairs where the other guests were being hosted with some food and drinks by the Bishop and his wife.

It was definitely interesting shaking the hand of the man who wants people of my kind stoned to death. Especially considering that this was in his church and in his private area blocked off by security. Solomon Tipene (Maori candidate in by-election in case you forgot) thanked Bishop Tamaki again upstairs before leaving to head back to the retirement home. Look I should not be so mean, he actually smiled at me until he noticed that I was handing out the Mana Movement fliers.

The nibbles they had on were amazing, and I spent a few minutes speaking to the Bishops wife, where she explained to me that God deserves the best and that is why the bubbly was cracked open and the evening was such a glamourous show.

My first impression of her is that she is actually a really lovely woman with a whole bunch of style! I even got invited back!

Bishop Tamaki was too busy signing copies of his book for the VIP guests, I was offered a copy but politely declined.

So to wrap up, do I support Destiny church? Of course not, however I do note the changes they have made in peoples lives and the good that they have done for their community.

I found out first hand that the congregation is polite, respectful and welcoming towards guests no matter who you are and that Destiny church is a well coordinated and tightly run organization, that they really are a different breed of Maori and that they take huge pride in their presentation, which is good because as said before they are beautiful.

To put in perspective the 2004 march, they marched against something they felt was not right, it was their democratic right, the same way Maori hikoi the same way gays protest.

However despite all this, in their home they are still welcoming and friendly and make you feel comfortable, even the Bishop and his wife, I saw firsthand that they have genuinely helped a large number of people, and thank Destiny Church for their hospitality. In all fairness the show was amazing and I would go and watch it again.

Instead of hating each other, maybe this is a chance for us to educate each other. Last night I was educated to the fact that Destiny Church has helped so many people that we choose to turn a blind eye on and instead we focus on that march in 2004 when Brian Tamaki alienated the nation.

Maybe instead of hating Destiny church instead we can try to educate them.

Hate tends to get nobody anywhere and one day they will have to accept we are not going away. One day we will have to accept that they play a strong part in helping people, our friends and our families.

Maybe when we both accept this we can educate each other. Who knows, if religion is anything like politics than anything can change and anything can happen. Look at the Maori Party they are prepared to work with Don Brash and John Key, if they can do that then I could sit down with the Bishop and tell him how much he would enjoy the drag shows on K RD if he just loosened up a little and accepted we all live in New Zealand together.

If I can be invited into his home, invited to have a drink and food with him, his wife and his followers, and shake the guys hand, then surely anything is possible!

Also before people start talking about how Destiny church are trying to make their own community that they live in, I will remind you all that failed politician and Independent MP Chris Carter thought that it would be a great idea if Waiheke Island was just for homosexuals!

Many thanks to Jevan for this from the ground first hand account. You can read the original here:

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