Brian, Hannah Tamaki arrested: Destiny Church leader granted bail again

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki has again been granted bail, with a strict new condition that he does not attend the Auckland Domain.

Tamaki, 63, appeared in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday afternoon via audio-video link (AVL). Via his lawyer Ron Mansfield, Tamaki pleaded not guilty to a new charge of Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19) under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act. He also denied breaching his previous bail conditions. 

It comes after more than 1000 people turned out for an anti-vaccine mandate protest on Saturday at the Auckland Domain. Tamaki and his wife Hannah, 60, were present and spoke on stage to supporters. 

He was granted bail on the condition that he does not visit the Auckland Domain and does not organise, attend, support or speak at any protest gathering in breach of any current COVID-19 alert level requirements. He must also observe all and any requirements and should not use the internet to encourage non-compliance.

Both Brian and Hannah were summoned to the Auckland Central Police Station on Tuesday morning.

It's the third time Brian has been before the court in recent months. In October, he was charged with attending and organising a protest in breach of alert level 3 restrictions. He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on the condition he didn't attend or organise any gathering in breach of the COVID-19 requirements. 

But days later, Brian attended another event at Auckland Domain and was charged with breaching his bail conditions. He again pleaded not guilty and was given bail.

Hannah was also charged on Tuesday with two counts of Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19). She was granted bail and will appear before the court at a future date.

More than 100 people gathered outside the Auckland Central police station earlier in support of the Tamakis.

Some demonstators were holding signs and standing on the road while listening to a speaker. They applauded and chanted when the Tamakis arrived in their SUV.

Speaking before going inside, Brian said he was "relaxed" as he was "basically innocent" and had done nothing wrong.

He said he followed the COVID-19 requirements at Saturday's protest by keeping to social distance rules and wore his mask when not speaking. Brian said he never incited people to not follow the COVID rules and instead encouraged people to keep to the requirements.

Brian said all protests he had been to had been "peaceful" and followed the rules. 

"It defies belief in why the police are adamant and doggedly targeted me."

A haka was performed as the pastor entered the police station. Ngāti Toa has previously condemned the use of its Ka Mate haka by Kiwis opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine and jab mandates, ordering those performing it for this purpose to cease immediately.

Brian and Hannah Tamaki outside the police station.
Brian and Hannah Tamaki outside the police station. Photo credit: Newshub.
Brian Tamaki arrives at the police station.
Brian Tamaki arrives at the police station. Photo credit: Newshub.
A haka was performed as Tamaki entered the police station.
A haka was performed as Tamaki entered the police station. Photo credit: Newshub.
Protesters outside Mt Eden prison.
Protesters outside Mt Eden prison. Photo credit: Newshub.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was earlier asked about Tamaki and the protest on Saturday. 

"I take a view on anyone who breaches COVID restrictions - they’re there to keep people safe and anyone who is operating outside of those obviously is not putting the best interests of their community at the centre of what they’re doing and that’s wrong," Ardern said.

"Ultimately though, it is for the courts to determine the repercussions for that.  It’s not just the Government that is wronged when that happens - it’s everyone in Auckland, everyone who’s done the right thing, everyone who’s worked really hard. It’s not just about us."

National Party leader Judith Collins said there is a "growing sense of concern that people are not being listened to". 

"I am fully vaccinated, I support vaccinations, I expect people will want to do that; but what is also clear is that bringing a traffic light system on top of 90 percent double vaccination is simply overkill."

National has for months supported vaccine passes, which are a key part of the traffic light system. They're part of the political party's 'Opening Up' plan, which says certificates will be "essential for international travel and useful for domestic use".

"Domestic uses may involve proof of vaccination for some jobs and possible entry into private businesses and events."

In a Facebook Live earlier on Tuesday morning, Hannah, the Vision NZ political party leader, thanked followers for messages of support while sitting in the passenger seat of a car.

"We are on our way to Auckland Central police station, both Brian and myself. Don't know why they want me to go with him but anyway. We are both going. Don't know why we are both going," Hannah said.

"Apparently, our lawyer told us, they want us to come in to talk to us. Obviously, we are going to be spoken to this morning."

A crowd has gathered outside the police station.
A crowd has gathered outside the police station. Photo credit: Newshub.
A crowd has gathered outside the police station.
A crowd has gathered outside the police station. Photo credit: Newshub.

Brian, the Destiny Church leader, revealed in a livestream on Monday night that he and Hannah had been summoned to the police station and said "they want to probably charge Hannah and I". 

He said he believed they were being called to the police in connection to his appearance at Saturday's rally, but maintained he kept to all COVID-19 requirements. 

Brian said it was "ludicrous" and "crazy that it has got this far". 

"I think it is pretty serious for me. I have no fear about that," the pastor said.

Brian said he was willing to stand up for New Zealanders' "freedom" and "rights". He encouraged his supporters to come to the police station to support him.

"I'm going to put a red alert out. I am not taking this any longer."

More than 1000 people turned out for the anti-lockdown protest on Saturday, with the Tamakis taking to the stage to speak to the crowd.

Among their concerns is vaccine mandates. The Government has mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 for workers in certain industries and roles, with redeployment off the front lines possible for those who refuse, in order to reduce the spread of the virus which has killed more than 5.1 million and infected nearly 258 million people around the world.

The Government says it has carefully considered which sectors to require mandates in, such as in healthcare and education, noting that workers in these roles are likely to have contact with vulnerable people that need the extra security vaccinations provide. 

Vaccinations not only significantly reduces the likelihood people will be infected with COVID-19 but also lowers the chance people will pass it onto someone else or fall seriously ill.