Brian Tamaki Bio
Brian Raymond Tamaki (born 2 February 1958) heads Destiny Church, a Pentecostal Christian organisation in New Zealand which advocates strict adherence to fundamentalist biblical morality, and is notable for its position against homosexuality, its patriarchal views and for its calls for a return to biblical conservative family values and morals.
In his autobiography Bishop Brian Tamaki: More than meets the eye, Tamaki describes his early life:
Born in Te Awamutu in the Waikato region as the eldest in a family of five, Tamaki spent his childhood years on the family farm, called “Te Manuka”, in the rural area of Te Kopua. His devoutly religious mother took her sons to the Te Awamutu Methodist Church on Sundays. Tamaki describes his father as an alcoholic who showed no interest in fatherhood. During Tamaki’s childhood the family moved from the farm to Te Awamutu and then on to Tokoroa in 1970. While in Tokoroa Tamaki became interested in rugby union and a little later came to enjoy pig-hunting and participating in a rock-bandplaying the pub circuit. Two of Tamaki’s brothers, Doug and Mike, are well-known tourism venture operators in Rotorua.
Tamaki dropped out of secondary school at fifteen, before completing the fourth form and took a labour job in the forestry industry. In his teens he impregnated Hannah Lee and the unwed couple moved to Te Awamutu, where Tamaki worked on a dairy farm owned by his uncle and aunt. Tamaki and Lee had their first child, Jasmine, in December 1978. Later at 21, Tamaki joined the Ngaruawahia Apostolic Church. He lost his farm job and he and Lee returned to Tokoroa, where he attended the Tokoroa Apostolic Church. Tamaki became heavily involved with the church after pastor Manuel Renata baptised him in December 1979. Since Tamaki and his partner had not married, Renata would not allow him to carry out all the functions of the church. Tamaki and Lee then married at the Tokoroa Presbyterian Church on 22 March 1980. Fourteen months later they had their second child, a girl named Jamie.
In 1982 the Tamakis attended the Apostolic Church’s Te Nikau Bible College in Paraparaumu, and also had their third child, Samuel. Tamaki became an ordained elder, and then (in September 1984) a pastor in the Tokoroa Apostolic Church. Tamaki went on to establish the Rosetown Community Church in Te Awamutu, the Lake City Church in Rotorua, City Church and then Destiny Church in Auckland.
On 18 June 2005 kaumatua and Destiny Pastor Manuel Renata ordained Tamaki as bishop of the Destiny Church movement (which totals 15 churches throughout New Zealand and Australia).
Tamaki advocates prosperity theology.
In mid-April 2018, it was reported that Tamaki had sustained two second-degree burns to his face and body after a botched attempt to burn rubbish. Tamaki announced to members of his congregation that he was recovering and praised his wife and hospital staff for aiding his recovery.
Church and politics
In 2003 several members of the Destiny Church started the Destiny New Zealand political party, led by Richard Lewis. The party ran candidates in most electorates in the 2005 general election, but garnered less than 1 percent of the vote – well short of the 5 percent threshold required to enter Parliament without winning an electorate seat.
Destiny New Zealand was promoted by a nationwide tour and DVD labelled “A Nation Under Siege”. Tamaki features in the DVD and accompanied the tour. The DVD shows Tamaki decrying what he sees as four problems with New Zealand society: “a Government gone evil, a radical homosexual agenda, the media: a modern day witchcraft” and “the retreat of religion in New Zealand”.
In 2004, Tamaki predicted the Destiny Church would be “ruling the nation” before its tenth anniversary in 2008.
Destiny Church claimed a close relationship with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, USA, the church of Bishop Eddie Long, until at least September 2010. In his autobiography Tamaki wrote a chapter titled “Spiritual Father – a long time coming”, in which he described meeting “my spiritual father”, Eddie Long, in 2002. In October 2003, Long travelled to New Zealand after Tamaki invited him to address Destiny Church members. Tamaki wrote, “… the ease of our connection and the confirmation of a date was entirely in line with Kingdom principle – when God speaks, do it”. Long travelled to New Zealand again subsequently and Tamaki usually met him each year at church conferences.
Views on sexuality and marriage
Radio Pacific host John Banks aired an interview with Tamaki that attacked a New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s takatāpui (Māori for LGBT-person) HIV-prevention project, in which Tamaki referred to traditional Māori pre-colonial intolerance for male homosexuality, painting a picture of a society which, he claimed, exterminated gay and lesbian people. However, many Māori academic authorities question the basis for this claim.
The broadcasting of Tamaki’s preaching against homosexuality on Television New Zealand has led to numerous complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Television New Zealand pulled the original opening episode of his series Higher Ground, because it “had language and phrases that did not meet industry standards of accuracy, fairness and balance”.
Tamaki does not recognise the sex-reassignment surgery of the transgender former MP Georgina Beyer: Tamaki referred to Beyer in his autobiography as a male.
On 16 November 2016, Brian Tamaki drew controversy when he made statements during a sermon that the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes were divine retribution for sinful behavior including murder and homosexuality. These statements preceded the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake by a few hours. Tamaki’s comments were condemned by leading New Zealand public figures including the Mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker, Prime Minister John Key, and the Anglican bishop of Dunedin, Kelvin Wright. One Auckland-based critic Aaron Smithson also organized a Change.org petition calling on Prime Minister Key to revoke Destiny Church’s tax-free status. On 17 November, Tamaki responded by accusing the media of bias and sensationalizing his statements
On 19 April 2018, Tamaki tweeted his support for Australian rugby union player Israel Folau’s comments condemning homosexuality.
Views on women in politics
Tamaki regards the perceived lack of male leadership in New Zealand, including the leadership over one’s family, as “the work of the devil”. He claims that Parliament reflects this alleged lack of male leadership. In his autobiography he defends his attitude towards women by pointing to the role of his wife Pastor Hannah Tamaki in the Destiny Church organisation, and also says “God is very specific about the role and function of men”.
Trans woman MP Georgina Beyer confronted Tamaki at the “Enough is Enough” protest in Wellington in August 2004, charging “Your hatred is totally intolerable”. Beyer also compared Tamaki to despots like Robert Mugabe in a 3 News interview.
Views on Islam
Following the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, Brian Tamaki issued a Tweet protesting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to hold an Islamic call to prayer ahead of the two minutes of silence being held for the victims of the Christchurch shootings on 22 March 2018. Tamaki also made remarks attacking Islam as a “false religion” and claiming that Christianity was the national religion of New Zealand. Tamaki’s post attracted criticism on Twitter.
Jese Bal born Nov 9, 1982, is a novelist and poet. He has published novels, volumes of poetry, short stories, and drawings. His works are distinguished by the use of a spare style and have been compared to those of Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino.