Peter Lineham has a new book - Destiny: The Life and Times of a Self-Made Apostle. A kind-of-but-not-really authorised biography of Destiny Church and its leader.
The book covers the history and rise of the church, but attention has revolved around Lineham's claim that coverage of the church carries racist undertones. I'm still skeptical. Brian Tamaki put his neck out. Destiny Church runs religious programming, applies for government funding and has led (bigoted) social causes. Even if the claim is true, there's only so much sympathy you can hold for a perpetrator of bigotry complaining of like treatment.
Coverage of Destiny's can be alarmist, though. New Zealand's other pentecostal churches - despite running religious programming, tithing, and running social programmes - don't register. Destiny Church (Tamaki especially) juts against narratives we expect of Maori. He's flamboyant (which is grates against the kiwi character too) rich and proud of his heritage. Tamaki and the church reject assimilation and integration and have created their own ideologies. That's sometimes perceived as a threat.
My problems are with the Church's ideology. It represents a sickly fundamentalism fused with Maori undertones. The patriarchal views Tamaki perpetuates are outdated and have no place alongside Maori culture or in 21C New Zealand. The good the church does - and Lineham highlights it - doesn't negate the bad. The masculinity that men are encouraged to conform with is toxic and the role of women's wrong on so, so many levels.
But maybe I'm an elitist. And maybe I'm not in the best position to comment. I can't bend my worldview to see things from Destiny's point of view or its members perspective. But I'm not going to extend much sympathy for a bigot becoming the victim of bigotry. I'll pass on Lineham's book.