Destiny Church welcomes patched gang members to Auckland service

Former gang members described their experiences as part of Destiny Church's 2017 Easter production.
FACEBOOK

Former gang members described their experiences as part of Destiny Church's 2017 Easter production.

Destiny Church threw its doors open to patched gang members over the weekend, as controversial Bishop Brian Tamaki went on a mission to "advance the kingdom".

At least one gang member renounced their life of crime following the service.

The show was performed on Saturday and Sunday nights by Destiny church members who had previously been associated with gangs.

Destiny Church decided to allow patched gang members to attend its Easter production on Saturday and Sunday.
FACEBOOK

Destiny Church decided to allow patched gang members to attend its Easter production on Saturday and Sunday.

They described in graphic detail how their lives had involved horrors such as rape, murder, and drugs before they found religion through Destiny.

READ MORE:
Serco bans Brian Tamaki's son-in-law from South Auckland prison
Charity watchdog finds 'insufficient evidence' to investigate Destiny Church
Stan Walker headlines Destiny Church event with Brian Tamaki
Destiny Church's Hannah Tamaki meets with Rainbow Youth

Gang members are usually discouraged from attending Destiny while wearing their patches, but church leaders decided to make an exception for those who were interested in hearing the Easter message.

A Facebook page for the event warned "parental guidance required" for children.

Veteran Maori activist Titewhai Harawira was among those who attended the production.

Harawira is the mother of firebrand Mana Party leader and former MP Hone Harawira, who has turned up to Destiny services himself in the past.

Bishop Brian Tamaki wrote on Twitter he was on a mission to "advance the kingdom and build the church".
SUPPLIED

Bishop Brian Tamaki wrote on Twitter he was on a mission to "advance the kingdom and build the church".

Destiny founder Brian Tamaki wrote on Twitter he was on a mission to "advance the kingdom and build the church".

His wife Hannah Tamaki tweeted that religion had helped gang members turn pain to gain, and refrain from evil.

"No matter what gang they came from, they now have a new president, Jesus Christ," she said.

Members of Destiny Church's Man Up programme, many former gang members, took to the stage for the show.
FACEBOOK

Members of Destiny Church's Man Up programme, many former gang members, took to the stage for the show.

Ad Feedback

More than 150 people streamed forward following the production to receive blessings from Brian Tamaki.

Former gang member Billy Baggs says joining Destiny's Man Up programme helped him turn his life around.
CHRIS SKELTON/FAIRFAX NZ

Former gang member Billy Baggs says joining Destiny's Man Up programme helped him turn his life around.

Destiny's Man Up programme has made gang outreach a central part of its work in south Auckland.

In March, former gang member Billy Baggs described how Man Up had helped him turn his life around.

"My father was a founding member of the Tribesmen motorcycle club, and in 2000 he became the national president," he said.

"I joined my first street gang at the age of 12, and started going to prison when I was 15, and I've been in and out of prison for the past 21 years.

"I've been stuck in the cycle of drugs, violence, crimes and gangs and a lot of the time I haven't been there for my children or my partner."

Baggs admitted he initially agreed to take part in the programme because he thought it could be used to help shorten his sentence.

"I didn't have any good intentions at first," he said.

But he had a change of heart after being impressed with the wraparound support Destiny offered his family while he was stuck behind bars.

"That was a real eye-opener for me," he said. "None of the other groups I've hung around with all my life have ever done anything like that."

Man Up made headlines recently when it emerged that private prison operator Serco had banned the programme from its prison at Wiri in south Auckland.

Caine Warren, national director for Man Up, was turned away from the prison when he arrived for a routine visit.

Warren is the son-in-law of Brian and Hannah Tamaki; he is married to their daughter Jamie.

Prison director Mike Inglis agreed to meet with Warren and Tamaki following public outcry over the decision.

It's not yet clear whether Man Up will be allowed back into the prison.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

$1.6m church funds gambled away

Elizabeth Papu was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison at Manukau District Court. (FILE)

She was in charge of the church's money but she used it to fund her hidden gambling habit.

Schoolgirl still critical after crash

A car is pulled from the crash scene after it ploughed into a group of students outside Westlake Girls' High School.

Young student fighting for her life as a "deeply saddened" Auckland school grapples with horror crash.

Election mail clogging letterboxes

Briar Wyatt says she's trying to lead a zero waste lifestyle and receiving election mail has been "frustrating".

Political parties have been ignoring people's "no junk mail" signs, and turns out they're allowed to.

Killer's parting shot to victim's family

Bodi McKee faces at least three years behind bars for shooting dead Leslie Putt in Auckland last year.

Bodie McKee shot dead Leslie Putt last year and yelled profane abuse as he was taken away to prison.

Wellington

Eli gains loyal, helpful friend video

Six-year-old Eli Burkhalter with  his new assistance dog Taffy.

Taffy the golden labrador is a welcome companion for six-year-old Waikanae boy.

Kids sick on synthetics

Synthetic drugs, often mixed with dried leaves resembling cannabis, have claimed at least 20 lives in New Zealand this ...

Youngest was just 5 as three Porirua kids taken to hospital severely ill.

Massive drug case heads to trial

Wellington Police found cash hidden in a wall cavity during raids in Porirua and Tawa on April 11, 2017. (File photo)

Lawyer says covert drug operation was believed to be the biggest yet for the Wellington region.

SH1 blockage cleared

NZTA advised of delays on around the Paremata roundabout and Mana on State Highway 1 after a three-car crash at Plimmerton.

Minor delays continue after a two-car crash near Plimmerton.

Canterbury

Mum 'cannot grieve' video

Michelle Bishop is upset at the service received by funeral home Poppy Funerals following the death of her daughter ...

Michelle Bishop feels let down by funeral director who gave her Thin Lizzy for body and booked funeral at buffet restaurant.

Rangiora house fire devastates family

The Prest family look on as their house is devastated by fire.

Emergency services have rushed to a house on fire in Rangiora.

'Bound together by cancer' video

Christchurch father of two Kevin "Chalky" Carr received the news that his pancreatic cancer was back and his prognosis ...

Chalky Carr could have focused on his own cancer fight. Instead, he's raising $100,000 for a girl he'd never met.

Missing Chch men found

Dean Woolley, left, and Kane Hazelton were missing for a week. They were found in Ashburton on Wednesday September 20.

Dean Woolley and Kane Hazelton were found in Ashburton a week after they disappeared.

Waikato

Fatal police shooting 'justified'

Michael Taylor was shot dead by police officers at a property off Waverly St near Paeroa on June 10, 2016.

Officer used fatal force because he believed machete-wielding man was about to kill.

Library fix approved

Councillors approved $635,000 to earthquake strengthen the Hamilton Central Library. Another $87,000 will be used to add ...

Hamilton's central library will be brought up to earthquake standards.

$1b water park plans revealed

The site could be home to an adventure park where visitors can try wakeboarding or scramble over an inflatable aquatic ...

Plans for a water adventure park, including housing and tourist accommodation, have been revealed.

Threatened at knifepoint

Police received reports of the robbery in Tokoroa at 10.05pm (file photo).

A dairy worker was threatened with a knife during a late night attempted robbery.

Taranaki

The 'hero' in the beauty aisle

Shane White's training kicked into action as soon as he got to the man who collapsed in the beauty aisle.

Ian Foreman collapsed in a New Plymouth supermarket only for the produce manager to save his life.

Tight result predicted 

New Plymouth candiates
Clockwise from top left: Murray Chong (NZ First), Jonathan Young (National), Corie Haddock ...

Six New Plymouth electorate candidates still have more to do before they can relax

Death of monkey at Brooklands Zoo

150816 News Grant Matthew/Fairfax NZ 

Cotton-top tamarin monkeys at the Brooklands Zoo in New Plymouth.

Nephrite leaves behind her 5-year-old daughter Inca, and Inca's dad.

Ngā Manu Kōrero begins

Dr Ruakere Hond addressed the manuhiri (visitors).

Students from 52 schools across Aotearoa have arrived in New Plymouth for a speech competition.

Manawatu

Another feather in artist's cap

13092017 Photo: MURRAY WILSON/STUFF		
Artist Joe Mcmenamin has worked with Lytton St School kids making a large, ...

Artist brightening up Manawatū streets with mural artwork.

Crash near Foxton

Ambulance leaving scene of a fatal crash on state highway 1 near Foxton.

One person is dead after two cars collided on State Highway 1 near Foxton.

Perils of Government

From left, National candidate Adrienne Pierce, Money Free Party candidate Scott Andrew and Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway ...

OPINION: National's candidate was ganged up on and faced tough questions.

Two service stations held up

The BP service station in Main St, Palmerston North, was robbed by two armed men on Wednesday.

Armed men entered a BP in Palmerston North and a Mobil in Levin.

Nelson

Straight to the pointe

19092017 NEWS PHOTO BRADEN FASTIER / NELSON MAIL
Gillian Francis takes a class of students at the Nelson Dance Academy.

Forty years of running one of Nelson's best known dance school has seen Gillian Francis teach thousands of boys and girls how to dance and perform.

School's Link fears

19092017 NEWS PHOTO / MARTIN DE RUYTER / STUFF

Sonya Hockley, Auckland Point School principal outside the Haven Rd ...

Auckland Point School principal worried the Southern Link will stop local kids attending.

'What's a candidate?' video

Birchwood School students from left Jacob 8, Talei 9, Mia 8, talk to Stuff about their thoughts on the election and politics.

They can't legally vote until 2029, but they still have strong views on the election.

Who are you voting for?

Who are you voting for?

How are you voting on Saturday? Have your say in our election poll.

Marlborough

Recycling in the bag

Pak 'n Save owner Mark Elkington with their new soft plastics recycling bin.

Millions of plastic bags destined for landfill can now be recycled.

The generation game

The chutney-taste test is a serious business for members of the Women's Institute.

The cavalry is coming for one of New Zealand's oldest institutions - and they've brought chutney.

'Taylor-made' for trees

The first planting event in 2014 saw  Marlborough Landscape Group members, from left, Helen Ballinger, Ralph Ballinger ...

 It began as an idea to enhance the river and has branched out into something much bigger.

When one door closes ...

Business owners Holly Bonnington, right, and Kay Nicholls (centre) at the Sneaky Beach Cafe in Havelock.

The Sneaky Beach Cafe opened this week in Havelock, much to the excitement of locals.

South Canterbury

Men's health focus of campaign

Jonty Penney from Timaru is participating in the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride to raise funds for men,s health.

Two Timaru men are taking the health message on the road.

Flow-on concerns

David Hurst, from A J Engineering in Washdyke, is concerned about the impact of the water levy.

Businesses concerned about impact of Labour's water levy, spokesman says concerns unjustified.

New Mackenzie CEO

New Mackenzie council chief executive Suzette van
Aswegen.

A current staff member will take on the top job at the Mackenzie District Council.

'He's a hero,' neighbour says

The remains of the Waipopo property on Wednesday afternoon.

Waipopo man who rescued wife from fire would have used 'every bit of strength'.

Otago

Search for missing man

Missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe.

More than 30 ground searchers, three search dogs and an aerial search have failed to find any further sign of missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe

Serial sea lion killer at large video

A sea lion found shot on a Catlins beach in Southland in April.

A serial killer may be targeting New Zealand sea lions, with a $5000 reward on offer in exchange for the culprit.

Fired while on sick leave

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has ordered Oamaru-based P&W Painters (PWP) to compensate former employee Paul ...

Company that unfairly fired brush hand while on sick leave also had to compensate an ex-staffer who was called a "baby killer".

Kidnapping duo plead guilty

Nick Miles, 24, and Gary Michael Wilson, 46, have admitted kidnapping a man and dumping him on the outskirts of Dunedin.

Two men kidnapped and dumped another man on the outskirts on Dunedin.

Southland

Pound in clear

An animal group and the Invercargill City Council are at odds about how a dog was treated. (File photo)

Ministry for Primary Industries clears the Invercargill City Council over captive bolt use.

Crash on Tay St

Several police cars blocking the the Tay St- Elles Rd intersection after an accident involving a motor cycle in Invercargill.

A car and motorcycle have been involved in a crash on Tay St.

Turei fronts to city students

Metiria Turei speaks to Aurora College students in Invercargill.

Even on the brink of a knife-edge election, Metiria Turei doesn't regret telling her benefit story.

Youth organisations make appeal

Sam Balloch was one of dozens of volunteers seeking signatures for a petition to keep Number 10 One Stop Shop and ...

Number 10 Youth One Stop Shop and the Invercargill Secondary Schools Network are gathering support for their petition to remain at their current location.

Ad Feedback