Brian Tamaki, leader of Destiny Church will be remanded in custody at Mt Eden until January 27 after appearing in court today charged with breaching bail conditions.
The Destiny Church leader appeared at Auckland District Court via audio-visual link.
The 63-year-old Maniopoto uri has previously been charged three times over his attendance at Auckland Domain lockdown protests in 2021. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including allegations he violated the conditions of his bail.
Earlier this month police investigated Tamaki's appearance at an anti-Covid vaccine mandate protest in Christchurch's Hagley Park. However, Tamaki insists it wasn't a protest, saying at the time it was a "family funday picnic."
The conditions of his bail in previous court appearances meant he was not allowed to organise, attend, support or speak at any protest gathering in breach of Covid-19 requirements.
Tamaki was arrested earlier today at his East Auckland home, surrounded by supporters who followed him to Mt Eden Remand Centre. The group of around 150 supporters have spent most of the day outside the centre waving signs and calling for Tamaki to be released.
On a social media video post shortly before his arrest this morning, Tamaki says he is not a criminal.
“People keep thinking I’m breaching my bail conditions but I’ve always said I’m not guilty.”
Brian Tamaki and wife Hannah shortly before he was arrested on Monday morning. Photo/Hannah Tamaki facebook
“I should never have been charged in the first place,” he said.
He also claimed he would be the first political prisoner in New Zealand should he be held in custody.
However, users of social media were quick to point out there have been others who could claim to have been political prisoners, including Māori leaders of the 1800's such as Te Kooti Arikirangi, Te Rauparaha, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākāhi as well as conscientious objectors during the early part of the 20th century.
Rage cackling at the idea of Brian Tamaki claiming he may become New Zealand's first political prisoner.— RedRobyn (@wherorobyn) January 16, 2022
I sit here in Ōtepoti not far from roads and civic buildings worked on by political prisoners sentenced to hard labour. And a memorial to conscientious objectors.
Bit shocked to note Tāmaki’s claim to be Aotearoa’s first ever political prisoner & welcomed at Mt Eden by a bunch of guys performing kamate, a Haka created by Te Rauparaha, indisputably a political prisoner Te Rauparaha became one of New Zealand’s first political detainees 1/2— Lexie Matheson ONZM (she/her) 🏳️🌈🇳🇿🏳️⚧️🇮🇪 (@LexieMatheson) January 17, 2022
Tamaki will next appear in court next Thursday following 10 days in custody at Mt Eden Correctional Facility.