Coronavirus: Over thousand turn up to Brian Tamaki's anti-lockdown protest in Auckland

More than 1000 people have turned up to Destiny Church pastor Brian Tamaki's anti-vaccination protest in Auckland outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Protests are also being held in Christchurch and Wellington. 

The Auckland crowd of people include gang members on motorbikes, young children and elderly, many not following social distancing rules or wearing masks. 

Some bore signs and personalised T-shirts promoting "pro-choice" and "freedom from lockdown", with one sign reading "free 2 parent" and a T-shirt saying "free to choose". 

Tamaki spoke at the protest, telling supporters they've had a "gutsful" and it will take time and commitment to achieve their goals. 

"If we want change, it's going to take courage. It's going to take commitment and determination to stick this out until we get what we want."

"Today we are facing a Government we thought we could trust. Instead they are stripping away the freedoms a rights of everyday Kiwis."

"That's what they give to prisoners. We've all gone to prison."

"Society has been restructured in fear," he said.

Protesters told Newshub lockdowns are becoming "normal", despite New Zealand spending less time in restrictions over the past 18 months than most other Western countries. 

"We are here for freedom and for our families," one protester told Newshub. "No restrictions, no lockdowns. They're making it normalised and that isn't normal. If the whole country got vaccinated they would still lock us down."

Another protester said: "If everyone is being hygienic in their ways and if everyone does that is a better chance of getting through than shutting all the perimeters down. That is a struggle in itself. Just to purchase something from the dairy, you can't, you have to do it online and some people like myself can't do that."

Dairies have actually remained open throughout the pandemic. 

Protesters turn up on motorbikes for Brian Tamaki's anti-vaccination protest in Auckland.
Protesters turn up on motorbikes for Brian Tamaki's anti-vaccination protest in Auckland. Photo credit: Newshub

Organisers called on protesters to keep socially distanced as much as possible and to wear masks if they have them. 

"It is okay to say something is not right at the moment, it is okay to say 'I think differently'," one speaker said.

Police are keeping a low profile on the edges of the protest. Security staff in high-visibility vests are flanking the stage and moving among the crowd.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff eviscerated Tamaki on Friday, calling him an idiot who - like other hardcore anti-vaxxers - is "probably beyond redemption" and will likely "end up in ICU" on the taxpayers' dime.

Auckland Councillor Alf Filipaina said on Saturday there would likely be health professionals amongst Tamaki's flock who know what he's doing is wrong. 

"If you want to catch COVID-19 because you want to break the rules and gather together... that's your choice, like it's your choice not to get vaccinated. But don't push your choice on other people. "If you do go and you get COVID, I just hope you don't spread it to the rest of us."