'We will not cave': Tamaki defiant over attending 'family picnic'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Jan 2022, 10:04AM
(Photo \ NZME)
(Photo \ NZME)

'We will not cave': Tamaki defiant over attending 'family picnic'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Jan 2022, 10:04AM

Under-fire Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki is adamant he has not breached any of his bail conditions by attending an event in Christchurch over the weekend. 

Police are investigating a Christchurch rally protesting against the Government's Covid-19 vaccination mandates and lockdowns, which Tamaki reportedly attended. 

The rally was held on Saturday in Hagley Park and was followed by a march down Riccarton Rd. 

Tamaki reportedly spoke at the event, in a possible breach of his bail conditions, though a Destiny spokesman told NZME the event was a "family picnic", not a protest. 

Under orange restrictions, any event held without vaccine pass requirements is limited to 50 people. 

However, photos and videos posted to social media show more than 100 people attended the outdoor event. 

Yesterday Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said the protest action was being investigated. 

Tamaki, 63, has been charged three times after speaking at large protests in alleged breach of Auckland's lockdown rules. 

Last month he was again released on bail after a third protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates at Auckland Domain. 

Destiny Church Christchurch Senior Pastor Derek Tait told NZME yesterday that Tamaki didn't attend a protest in Christchurch but was at a "family picnic". 

Tamaki today issued a lengthy statement reiterating that and bashing the media for reporting on his trip. 

He accused the media of "pushing the police" to prosecute him and "trying to apply public pressure" against him. 

"It's time they all got over me. I'm not going away, I'm here to stay," he wrote. 

"I attended Saturday's family fun day picnic at the request of a good friend, Derek Tait. 

"He has been doing a great job in the far South supporting people, and he had asked that I share a message of hope on Saturday." 

Tamaki claimed he "genuinely" cares about "all New Zealanders" and was "more than happy to help". 

"It defies belief that in New Zealand, me publicly sharing a message of hope could pose any risk of prosecution - all the while this country is running rife with real criminals that the police should be more focused on like all the gang shootings, murderers, drug dealers, rapists and more," Tamaki said. 

"I haven't broken my bail conditions. 

"I've done my best to adhere to the current Covid-19 requirements... my current bail conditions state that I am prohibited from organising, attending, supporting or speaking at any protest in breach of Covid-19 requirements. 

"Judges and the police have repeatedly affirmed that I have a right to protest it just can't breach the current Covid-19 restrictions in place. 

"I also have a right to freedom of speech." 

He accused the media of trying to "vilify" him and "mislead" the country by reporting on his behaviour. 

He said while under the orange level of the country's traffic light system only 50 people could attend - it was possible for gatherings "to take place with multiple defined spaces of 50 people at the same venue". 

"You can have multiple groups of 50 people at a venue," he argued. 

"I've even been on a Zoom call with the Prime Minister's office and prominent church leaders where the PM's team have discussed this in great detail and confirmed our interpretations of these restrictions." 

Tamaki provided photographs of the event which he purported showed the organisers had "laid out and defined spaces" for the groups of attendees. 

"I'm sick and tired of being told by police and Judges that I have a right to protest, and the right to peace, yet I'm continually singled out, vilified, pursued and prosecuted like I am a criminal," he said. 

Tamaki provided photos of the weekend event which he says proves he did not breach the Covid-19 gathering rules. Photo / Supplied 

"I will not take this harassment lying down. 

"I am fighting for our civil rights and I will continue to fight back with all my might and courage. 

"We will not cave. We will not conform. We continue to fight another day to uphold our freedoms and rights." 

The Herald has contacted police for an update on their investigation into the weekend activity. 

- by Anna Leask, NZ Herald