Destiny Church – Holy Poverty?


The Spirituality of Affluence in the Destiny Church on display again

Brian and Hannah Tamaki

Destiny Church co-leader Hannah Tamaki is the new owner of a $75,000 turbo-charged Mercedes-Benz.

The Herald on Sunday reported the latest luxury purchase of the controversial Tamaki family.

They are fundamentalist Christian church leaders known for urging their religious followers to shower banknotes at the feet of self-anointed bishop Brian Tamaki.

Registration records show Brian’s wife Hannah, who has previously talked of owning a $90,000 diamond ring, became the registered owner of the 2015 Mercedes SLK 200 on January 25.

Capable of reaching speeds of up to 239 kph – almost 2 times the legal motorway limit – Hannah’s jet-black convertible also boasts 18-inch AMG alloy wheels and heated sport seats.

The flash German two-seater was listed online though Mercedes-Benz North Shore, carrying just 1800km on the clock and at a “drive away” price of $74,990.

Earlier this month a controversial American preacher who has faced allegations he sexually abused young men during a previous trip to New Zealand urged Destiny Church followers to “repent, repent, repent” at their annual conference.

American evangelist Eddie Long was the guest of honour at Destiny’s annual get together at the “City of God” in Manukau, south Auckland, which attracted about 1000 followers who paid $120 for a weekend pass.

Standing just metres away in the church’s hangar sized ‘Sanctuary’, ankle deep in tithed banknotes, stood self-appointed Destiny Church ‘Bishop’ Brian Tamaki who had invited Long as a special guest to the church’s weekend Australasian ‘Invasion’ conference.

In 2010, several young men of Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in US state Georgia, sued staunchly anti-gay Long for alleged grooming and sexual abuse, some of which allegedly happened in New Zealand.

By 2011 four lawsuits resulting from those allegations, according to US media, were all subsequently dismissed, unable to proceed in court.

The four former members of a youth group Long ran had accused him of repeatedly coercing them into homosexual sex acts, and of abusing his moral authority over them while plying them with cash, new cars, lodging and lavish trips overseas trips including, for one of the four, a trip to New Zealand.


Thanks to CATHNEWS, NZ for this link to the New Zealand Herald article that was recently published, showing the propensity for ostentatious living on the part of the leadership of Auckland’s ‘Destiny Church’ with headquarters in the Manukau heartland of Maori and Pacific Islanders.

Mind you, none of us is immune to consumer envy syndrome. I remember once owning  – in retirement – a little red, beat up Mazda 2-seater sportscar – until, when called to take up an interregnum post in Wanaka, I realised it was totally unsuitable for travelling around to the 3 widely-scattered local churches on a Sunday morning. Also, my wife Diana thought it was time I grew up and bought something more suitable – another, bigger, passenger-friendly, older car.

What struck me about this article however, was the assumption, by a Church Leader, that one might need to impress one’s congregation with the best, most expensive means of transport, in order to prove the benefits of the much vaunted ‘Prosperity Gospel’ syndrome, that seems to have taken root in the mainstream of fundamentalist Church culture: And then we have the inevitable evangelical American connection, with the visit of a Baptist Pastor who also believes in the prosperity Gospel:

American evangelist Eddie Long was the guest of honour at Destiny’s annual get together at the “City of God” in Manukau, south Auckland, which attracted about 1000 followers who paid $120 for a weekend pass”.

My question would be: what is a Church in a deprived area of followers, doing advertising its pastoral success by such a degree of ostentation? (Mind you, we Anglican were once renowned for the affluence of Bishops’ Palaces. However, I think we have learned that ostentatious living does not bode well for the spiritual health of the Christian Church).

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand


About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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