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Brian Tamaki voices support for man accused of vandalising K Road crossing

Author
Benjamin Plummer, Isaac Davison and David Williams,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 9:16am

Brian Tamaki voices support for man accused of vandalising K Road crossing

Author
Benjamin Plummer, Isaac Davison and David Williams,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 9:16am

An Auckland man married to Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki’s granddaughter has pleaded guilty to vandalising the rainbow pedestrian crossing on Auckland’s Karangahape Road. 

Ford O’Connor, 31, appeared in the Auckland District Court this morning on charges of intentionally damaging the crossing on March 28. 

He has agreed to pay $16,093 for the costs of repairing the crossing. 

His lawyer, Steven Lack, said he would pay the amount in full within a month. 

O’Connor received a discharge without conviction. 

Community Magistrate Jan Holmes said she had taken into account O’Connor’s early guilty plea, his significant reparation costs, and his clean record. 

Lack had argued that a conviction would have a significant effect on the father of four, who was in fulltime work. 

Support from Brian Tamaki 

Before O’Connor’s court appearance, Tamaki held a press conference in front of about 40 people to voice his “unwavering support” for him. 

Tamaki said; “Today I stand alongside a young man, who is accused of wilful damage to the K Rd rainbow crossing... Mr O’Connor handed himself into the police last week and he was not arrested.” 

The rainbow crossing on Karangahape Rd in Auckland was painted over with white paint. Photo / John Nottage / Reddit

The rainbow crossing on Karangahape Rd in Auckland was painted over with white paint. Photo / John Nottage / Reddit 

“As I stated before, Mr O’Connor undertook a political protest against the excessive rainbow washing that is occurring across New Zealand right now, at the expense of our taxpayers and our ratepayers. 

“This rainbow washing has gone too far. The over-promotion and protection of this perversion is not right. 

“The R18 plus content in sexual education in our Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum in schools has still not been removed despite election promises from parties like New Zealand First.” 

At a press conference this morning, Tamaki voiced his 'unwavering support' for the man accused of wilful damage to the crossing, Ford O’Connor. Photo / Jason Oxenham

At a press conference this morning, Tamaki voiced his 'unwavering support' for the man accused of wilful damage to the crossing, Ford O’Connor. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

Tamaki also called for the removal of what he called “the rainbow movement’s branding and paraphernalia...trying to rainbow wash our kids”. 

“We want officials to defund, and remove drag queens story times from our schools and our libraries,” he said. 

“Ban puberty blockers, remove RSE curriculum in our schools, defund InsideOUT, the organisation targeting our young with rainbow paraphernalia.” 

"O’Connor handed himself into the police last week and he was not arrested”, said Brian Tamaki at the press conference this morning. Photo / Jason Oxenham 15 April 2024

"O’Connor handed himself into the police last week and he was not arrested”, said Brian Tamaki at the press conference this morning. Photo / Jason Oxenham 15 April 2024 

Earlier Tamaki said; “The young man has appointed me as his media spokesperson, due to the importance of this case.” 

“It is ridiculous that the police have threatened to treat this as a hate crime when they have shown no interest in treating the Te Papa Treaty defacing as a hate crime. There seems to be massive inconsistencies with how one protest is treated, compared to another. One law for some and another law for others, and I am prepared to call out the police’s hypocritical actions.” 

The Destiny Church head also promised to keep taking action. 

“Until officials take notice and put an end to this madness, we will keep protesting in multiple places, in multiple ways across this nation.” 

A police statement after the overnight incident on March 28 said they were treating the vandalism as a “hate crime”. 

Police said they were aware of the “hurt and confusion” from the community at what occurred and reassured they were committed to holding those involved to account. 

“Police have no tolerance for reports of this nature, which appear to directly target a particular sector of our diverse community, and we are treating this as a hate crime,” Auckland City Central area commander Inspector Grant Tetzlaff said. 

Tamaki earlier said he didn’t know if his members were involved. 

Earlier protests linked to Destiny Church 

The vandalism to the Karangahape Rd crossing came days after members of Destiny Church painted over the rainbow crossing on Gisborne’s main street. The group were protesting a Rainbow Storytime event at the local library, where drag queens read stories to children. 

The Gisborne crossing had been repainted, with police expected to bill Destiny Church members for the work. 

That led several protesters to return to the site, with Tamaki expressing his displeasure at the rainbow’s restoration. 

Five protesters were arrested after attempts were made to paint slogans onto the repainted crossing. 

Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick earlier said it was important to “find out what drives an allegedly grown man to get so upset about a rainbow flag”. 

“The drive behind this sad and bizarre waste of energy that saw someone paint over a simple symbol of our rainbow community didn’t come from nowhere. 

“This anger and bigotry wasn’t born on our shores, and it doesn’t belong here.” 

Swarbrick said she agreed with Auckland Pride’s call for a restorative justice approach for the person responsible. 

“I hope, ultimately, the alleged perpetrator and others who hold these views come to realise that the rainbow community is in fact quite fabulous.” 

Police said the investigation was ongoing. 

“Police are also continuing to appeal for information from the public to identify three other people believed to be involved. 

“At this stage, the vehicle of interest has also not yet been located and we are continuing to make inquiries.” 

If you have information on the incident, contact police on the 105 phone service or online at https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105, using Update My Report. Reference file number 240328/6111. 

Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. 

This story was originally published on the Herald, here

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