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Tamaki taking the mickey

Brian Tamaki and his flock are at it again, using God’s name to justify intolerance of communities that don’t subscribe to the same ideologies as the far-right Christian fundamentalist organisation they call a church.

Tamaki and his so-called church not only believe “the gays caused the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011,” which killed 185 people, but they have also taken offence to colourful paint on roads and to the drag queen community.

Members were angry about a recent storytime event being held at a library in Gisborne, as well as rainbow pedestrian crossings – so they took it upon themselves to paint over the crossings last week, after going toe-to-toe with members and allies of the rainbow communities outside a storytime event.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said she was appalled by what had happened.

“Here’s a group of people who claim they do God’s work on Earth. They could have used that energy to support a community who are hurting,” she said.

Police also commented on the actions of Gisborne protesters, saying they respect the right to protest but not when accessways are blocked, there is wilful damage, “or when it appears to directly target a particular section of our diverse community”.

Hastings Council joined Rotorua in cancelling its Rainbow Storytime event to protect children from being exposed to a potentially volatile and violent protest – as was promised by Tamaki.

He has previously signalled that there were plans to protest at any Rainbow Storytimes funded by councils and even indicated that there were more plans to vandalise other rainbow crossings.

Despite the Gisborne protest featuring significant threats of violence, Tamaki praised members of his flock for their actions.

The rainbow crossing in Auckland was vandalised in the same way Gisborne’s was, but Tamaki can’t say if the people involved were members of his ‘church’.

For a man who has prided himself in celebrating his Māori heritage, it sure feels hypocritical of him to accept the parts of Māori culture that he likes and disregard the parts he doesn’t.

Historically, in Maori culture, sexuality and sexual diversity have been widely accepted and feature in carvings, some traditional waiata, karakia, and explicitly in various stories passed down through generations.

Tūtānekai – who more infamously fell in love with Hinemoa – had an intimate male friend he referred to as “taku hoa [my friend] takatāpui”, and thus the term takatāpui became defined in the 1844 Dictionary of the Māori language as ‘an intimate companion of the same sex’.

Traditional Māori carvings of men participating in sexual acts have also been scattered across the globe and are on display in places such as Leipzig and St Petersburg. 

‘Church’ leader Tamaki has used snippets of religion and culture to perpetuate his own views on sexuality and gender while disregarding aspects that don’t conform to what he believes is right.

Freedom of speech is being brought up in every argument supporting Tamaki, his words, and his actions – but Tamaki has proven yet again that his words only spark violence, hatred, and, in this case, vandalism that only costs the ratepayers more money to fix.

Tamaki is speaking out against drag queens and people of the LGBTQIA+ communities interacting with children – but how is encouraging his flock to act aggressively in front of children apparently okay?

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