Hannah Tamaki says Israel, Maria Folau victims of bullying

Leader of the Coalition New Zealand Party Hannah Tamaki wants to ask Israel Folau "if he is ok" as she believes he was the victim of an unjustified beat up.

The controversial former Wallaby player has faced intense criticism since April, when he posted a photo on Instagram saying all drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters would go to hell.

Israel's contract with Rugby Australia was subsequently terminated after he refused to remove the post and was found in breach of the organisation's professional players' code of conduct.

Earlier this month, he began a GoFundMe page to crowdfund money for "legal action", calling the termination of his contract "unlawful". That was eventually shutdown by GoFundMe, but quickly replaced with a fundraiser by the Australian Christian Lobby.

Both fundraisers have received criticism, with many pointing to the rugby player's multi-million dollar property portfolio as evidence he didn't need handouts.

But Tamaki, wife of Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki, is concerned for Israel, saying he was "absolutely whacked by the endless waves coming and smashing him up against the rocks repeatedly".

"I'm a mother, and all I think to myself is, I just want to ask him if he is ok?" she said in a statement.

"We have a bullying epidemic in NZ that we are all aware of, but when it comes to morality and ethics of self belief we deem it satisfactory to lash out as a whole country against one man. 

"Kiwis have the highest youth suicide rate in the OECD and the way we are acting towards this young man, sends a disgusting message to our next generation."

Tamaki is concerned about the wellbeing of Israel and Maria Folau.
Tamaki is concerned about the wellbeing of Israel and Maria Folau. Photo credit: Getty / Newshub.

Tamaki is also worried about Israel's Silver Fern wife, Maria, who has also seen backlash against her decision to share her husband's GoFundMe account and not stand up against homophobia. Silver Ferns sponsor ANZ said it doesn't support Folau's views.

"These corporate sharks are eyeing up Maria Folau, one of New Zealand’s finest sports women and international netball greats of our time, as they start to approaching her for a savage kill on her reputation," Tamaki said.

She labelled ANZ's action "bullying" and "pathetic", and said she wasn't surprised that despite all the backlash, Israel's fundraiser crossed $2 million in days.

"Society only has itself to blame, the more you beat up on people, the more committed people like me will be to supporting them."

The Australian Christian Lobby hit "the pause button" on its fundraiser on Thursday, but says it may reopen it if Israel needs more help for his legal action.

A conciliation conference for Israel's case is scheduled for Friday before the Australian Fair Work Commission.


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