Brian Tamaki not ruling out Destiny Church members painting over more rainbow crossings

A protest by Destiny Church members failed to stop an appearance by drag queens at Gisborne Library on Tuesday, as part of the Rainbow Storytime initiative.

It comes after church members painted over a rainbow pedestrian crossing in the city on Monday night.

But Hastings Council has now joined Rotorua in cancelling its Rainbow Storytime event - citing safety and disinformation concerns.

And Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki is not ruling out church members painting over more rainbow pedestrian crossings around the country.

It was a tense stand-off outside the library as a wall of rainbow supporters faced Destiny Church members, centimetres from each others' faces.

Church members are angry about drag queens hosting a storytime event inside the library, and Gisborne Council's rainbow pedestrian crossings. 

So, they painted over it on Monday night.

"We don't want these transgender rainbow coming in to teach our children [sic]," said one of the men painting over the crossing in a video posted to X.

That drew out rainbow supporters to the library today.

"I'm a mother of two gay children, and for a small minority group - they're very small, Destiny Church here in Gisborne - to have done that... To have come down here yesterday and intimidated our rangatahi is really disgusting," one local woman told Newshub.

Inside, the mood was more upbeat, as drag queens performed songs and stories about being comfortable with who you are.  

"This is probably the worst it's been in terms of the heat and the online presence that we've had. The online messages and the hatred we've had, we've had threats of violence and aggression," drag queen Coco told Newshub.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz is appalled by the church members' actions.

"Here's a group of people who claim that they do God's work on Earth. They could have used that energy to support a community who are hurting," she told Newshub.

Police say they respect the right to protest, but "not when this extends to blocking accessways and wilful damage, or when it appears to directly target a particular section of our diverse community".

Brian Tamaki said his Destiny Church had planned to protest in Hastings on Thursday, but the council there today followed Rotorua in cancelling the event, due to safety concerns.

Tamaki said the church will continue to target all councils who fund rainbow initiatives, and indicated there are plans to vandalise more crossings.

Newshub asked Tamaki if he'd heard conversations about plans to paint over other pedestrian crossings.

"Oh man, you journalists are persistent. Well, the smile on my face says it all," he replied.

Earlier on Tuesday, Tamaki posted a video on Facebook thanking Destiny Church members for protesting at the library.

"I want to hop on here and say a huge congratulations right now to all of those people," he said.

"After a very obstinate mayor and councillors, who in no way were going to give any ground, in cancelling the drag queens' storytelling to kids."

What happened was "amazing", he told his followers.

So while Gisborne Council plans to paint the rainbow stripes back, and police consider charges, rainbow crossings in other areas of the country could be next.