Exclusive: Brian Tamaki meets with Andrew Little to discuss giving Destiny Church funding, access to prisons

Destiny Church could be coming to a prison near you.

The Justice Minister met with church leader Brian Tamaki at Waitangi to discuss granting Government cash and prison access to the controversial church.

Destiny Church's Tu Tangata, or 'Man Up' movement, was everywhere at Waitangi this year. There were more people in its hikoi to the treaty grounds than attended the actual dawn service.

They made their presence heard to the highest levels of Government, with Mr Tamaki scoring a meeting with Justice Minister Andrew Little.

"I'd like to say we're all on and we're going ahead, and we are really," he told media.

Tu Tangata aims to turn around Māori overrepresentation in our prisons.

When Newshub asked if the programme could be used to indoctrinate more followers into the church, Minister Little said he didn't think so.

"I don't see the Salvation Army or Presbyterian Support Services or any of the other faith-based organisations doing that."

Mr Tamaki wants taxpayer cash for rehabilitation programmes and wants access to prisoners.

"I'm open to anybody who's got a programme that can turn lives around for the better and restore people, restore families," Minister Little said. "If he's got something, then let's see."

But wait, there's more. Newshub asked Mr Tamaki if there's potential for a Tu Tangata political party.

"Maybe it might be a good idea," he said. "Tu Tangata is such a great option."

He wasn't so keen on standing for election himself, however.

"Oh no, I can't lower myself to go down to that position with my high call."

Destiny Church-backed parties ran for parliament in 2005 and 2008, and got less than 1 percent of the vote on both occasions.

"That was just fun back then," Mr Tamaki said.

So could Labour work with a Tu Tangata party?

"I think parties in Government have to be prepared to work with all those who have something useful to offer," Minister Little said.

Like a flashback to Waitangi Day 2005, Destiny Church and Don Brash dominated headlines at the lower Te Tii Marae this year while politicians kept to the upper marae.

However, Newshub understands the Labour Māori caucus has told the Prime Minister the Government needs to return to Te Tii or take responsibility for creating divisions at Waitangi.

Jacinda Ardern has promised to return to Waitangi every year she's Prime Minister, but what if it was moved back to Te Tii?

"That wouldn't automatically exclude me going, so I would consider that as well," she told Newshub, adding that she would feel comfortable taking daughter Neve along to Te Tii as well.

It's an endorsement from the Prime Minister, but far from a commitment.