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Bishop Tamaki Responds to PM's Comments



22 October 2008

Bishop Tamaki Responds to Discriminatory Comments by PM Helen Clark


In an interview on Radio Waatea this morning, Helen Clark said, "I think probably most people in Maoridom will be thinking what is going on here? This is not an Urban Maori Authority. This is a cult. It's ridiculous, as is, in my view, any suggestion of a treaty claim by Black Power or the Mongrel Mob. It's not real. It's not serious."

Statement from Bishop Tamaki

On behalf of Destiny Church I wish to respond to comments from Prime Minister Helen Cark labelling the church a 'cult' and on par with the Black Power and Mongrel Mob.

As Destiny Church approaches the eve of celebrating 10 years as a movement (A Decade of Destiny), we will be launching our new status as an Urban Iwi Authority. This enables us to build far greater capacity around the services we provide to our people, as up to this point, our community work has been entirely self-funded, without any government support whatsoever.

I am immensely proud of the track record of Destiny Churches in helping a great many Maori and Pacific people improve their position in life, not only for themselves but also for their families, their children and our communities. This is the essence of what we have done and will continue to do. Indeed, there are many men who were once part of the gang culture Prime Minister Clark has referred to, but who have turned a new chapter in their lives to take responsibility for themselves and their families.

Our church is underpinned by the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith: a faith and lifestyle that is shared by a great many New Zealanders and evidenced by the many churches, Christian organizations and denominations that are a part of our landscape and heritage.

To be branded as a 'cult' by our Prime Minister is not only racist and discriminatory but is hurtful to me, but is hurtful to the many thousands of Destiny Church members who have served and continue to serve our people and our communities selflessly. It is also a slight on New Zealand's Christian community that shares our values and aspirations.

To that end, I will be seeking an apology from the Prime Minister for her discriminatory comments towards the members of Destiny Church.


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