'Not fighting for justice': Brian Tamaki's own iwi condemns anti-lockdown protests

Brain Tamaki's iwi Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo has condemned him and Destiny Church over recent anti-lockdown protests.

Controversial Destiny Church leader Tamaki's Freedoms and Rights Coalition organised the anti-Government protest in Wellington earlier this week, while Tamaki himself is before the courts over two anti-lockdown protests in Auckland last month.

"Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo was concerned to see babies and tamariki at Tuesday's rally in Wellington, organised by a 'freedom' group set up by Tāmaki. Many people were unmasked," Ngāti Hikairo chair Susan Turner said.

"The Rūnanganui support vaccines and 'dot' passports as a way of managing the pandemic. They're concerned that Mr Tāmaki, who is one of their own, is asking Māori communities to undermine the science.

"Brian carries a Ngāti Hikairo surname and with that name comes the obligation to protect Ngāti Hikairo whānau."

Turner said undermining science would put their people at risk.

"The homeland of Ngāti Hikairo around Kāwhia and Te Awamutu is on the verge of a major outbreak, which worries the Rūnanga," she said. "The 'fight for freedom' is not about freedom at all, as freedom comes with obligations. 

"If they object to measures that protect other people's lives, in our view, they are not fighting for justice or freedom."

It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she didn't think the Wellington protesters represented the majority of New Zealanders.

Thousands of people gathered outside Parliament on Tuesday to oppose the Government's COVID-19 restrictions, including lockdowns and vaccine mandates.