By James Murray
Leading Maori political figures, including maverick Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, will take to the stage in Auckland this weekend as part of Destiny Church’s annual conference.
As well as Mr Harawira, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, Labour MP Shane Jones and National associate spokesperson on Maori Affairs Georgina te Heuheu will also speak.
The forum has been set up at the bequest of Destiny leader Bishop Brian Tamaki, who says the recently called Te Tai Tokerau by-election “has added an extra dimension”.
“If there was ever a time when Maori unity and our political future hang in the balance, it is now. The gathering of these influential leaders could well be a defining moment. There will certainly be keen interest in what they have to say. I believe Maori aspirations are better realised with us all together than apart,” says Bishop Tamaki.
Fireworks could fly between Mr Harawira and Mr Sharples after the new Mana Party leader left the Maori Party and resigned his Te Tai Tokerau seat this year.
Mr Sharples has publically criticised Mr Harawira’s mother this month, saying her rudeness after she turned up to protest at a Maori Party hui was “uncontrollable”.
Sharples, who is married to Mr Harawira's cousin, says he has had experience of dealing with the Harawiras all his adult life and the people of the north had come to expect her behaviour.
"It's just grown and grown and so in the end it's sort of like uncontrollable now."
At the hui Ms Harawira described Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia as “bloody liar” and a “snake”.
Mr Harawira left the Maori Party after a disagreement over the Marine and Coastal Bill and the party’s relationship with National.
The inner workings of Destiny Church were exposed in 2009 by Campbell Live after sending an undercover reporter to its Momentum gathering.
The report showed how Destiny Church persuaded its constituents to part with money and how men were required to swear an oath to Bishop Tamaki, including the following commandments:
- Always speak of Bishop Brian in a favourable and positive light
- Protect him from outsiders who try and get in his face. Tactfully move in on people who do this.
- When Bishop Tamaki is speaking all others stop.
- Never openly disagree with Bishop Tamaki in front of others.
- If seated with Bishop Tamaki at a table wait until he has started eating before you do.
- In a sign of love and respect for Bishop Tamaki surprise him with gifts.
Bishop Tamaki says his church does not have any political “stakehold” in this year’s election, unlike in previous years.
source: newshub archive