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  • Will Irvine

Destiny’s Wild: Inside Aotearoa’s Stupidest Church


Longtime Salient readers and news junkies across the motu are likely familiar with Destiny Church, the right-wing propaganda outlet, wannabe motorcycle gang and personal luxury car dealership of Brian and Hannah Tamaki. The self-described apostle and his doting traditional wife are unrivalled in their commitment to annoying literally everyone in Aotearoa, yet maintain a significant following thanks to their preaching of prosperity gospels in underfunded and overpoliced neighbourhoods. 

Throughout the mid-tri break Destiny Church has made our job incredibly easy, and everyone else’s lives incredibly hard, by providing a stream of increasingly disgusting news stories. The following are just a few excerpts from the busy lives of the Sons of Tamaki. 

Brian Says No To Paint on Roads

Anyone who has ever read the Bible will know that God hates rainbows. This is evidenced in DestinyCorp’s dedication to wiping the filth known as ‘colours’ from our streets, often in the most distracting and ultimately futile ways possible. The latest iteration of Brian Tamaki’s refusal to taste the rainbow comes in the form of whitewashing several rainbow crossings in cities across Aotearoa, including the famous Karangahape Road crossing. Auckland Central MP and queer advocate Chloe Swarbrick took to social media, calling the vandalism “sad and bizarre”.

Tamaki has a long-standing history of being a dick to gay people. In a 2016 sermon, he told adherents that the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which killed 185 people, was divine punishment for homosexuality. Salient was unable to confirm this claim. In 2018, he claimed that “#crybabygays” would “go to HELL”.

Alongside the whitewashing of rainbow crossings in Gisborne and Auckland, followers of the Blessed Apostle and “tangible expression of God” embarked on a nationwide jihad against librarians. In Gisborne, Hastings, and Rotorua, members of the Church bullied and harrassed libraries into closing or cancelling “Drag Queen Story Hour” events led by Erika and CoCo Flash, a popular drag duo who travel the country educating and entertaining children. 

It is unclear when Destiny’s campaign of harassment against queer communities will end, but until it does, thousands of people across Aotearoa will continue to feel unsafe.  

Mobilising the Nelson Brigade of the IDF

As the legions of Destiny adherents in Te-Ika-A-Maui have employed threats of violence to silence queer people, members in the Nelson region have taken to a more direct approach—actual violence. Beginning in October 2023, Nelson-based Palestinians and allies have been organising weekly protests against the genocide in Gaza, many of which have been counterprotested by local Destiny Church factions. In March, these protests turned violent, with Destiny Church members pushing and shoving over pro-Palestine protestors to break past a line separating the two protests. 

As evangelical Christians, Destiny see themselves as spiritual protectors of Israel, which plays a significant role in their eschatology and broader theology. In the early stages of the war, Brian Tamaki conducted an interview with Israeli state-owned media, who described Destiny as “our crazy army in New Zealand” and “the Māori tribe that aligns itself with Israel”. Tamaki, portrayed to Israelis as “one of the leaders of the Māori”, described scaring off pro-Palestine protestors in Auckland with his “troops”. 

By reinforcing the Israeli notion that the genocide in Gaza is comparable to an indigenous rights movement, Tamaki plays into dangerous propaganda that legitimises the starvation of millions and trivialises indigenous rights movements across the world. It’s unclear why Tamaki, an avowed Christian nationalist, has allied himself with a military that has massacred Palestinian Christians and destroyed cultural heritage sites from the early Church, but it points towards a broader pattern of attaching himself to whichever right-wing culture war issue is prevalent in the current moment. The question remains—does Brian Tamaki have any real beliefs, or is he more Profit than Prophet? 


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