Brian Tamaki’s iwi condemns his actions for putting Māori at risk

Otago Daily Times

Brian Tamaki’s iwi is criticising his involvement in a freedom group they say puts Māori communities at risk and undermines the science behind preventing the virus’s spread.

Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo is concerned about the effect of these gatherings, which involved many unmasked supporters, babies and tāmariki.

While Tamaki and his wife Hannah say they are not anti-vaccine, they describe themselves as “pro-choice”. They and the Destiny Church have led outdoor gatherings and marches in various parts of the country.

Last Tuesday, for example, Wellington CBD came to a standstill as thousands of freedom protesters marched to Parliament challenging its Covid restrictions.

Recently the Freedoms and Rights Coalition has organised several other protests around the country – including Covid hot-spots like Auckland and Hamilton.

Tamaki’s iwi is calling on him to take a “whānau first” approach and tell his supporters to do everything they can to stem the pandemic.

“We all have the right to safety, and the right to life! If they object to measures that protect other people’s lives, in our view they are not fighting for justice or freedom,” Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo chairwoman Susan Turner says.

“We have a responsibility to ask our people to do everything we can to protect one another.”

Turner confirmed the Rūnanganui supports vaccines and “dot” passports as a way of managing the pandemic.

The fight against Covid has been a collective one and it was not justice or freedom, to pull apart the systems that are saving lives, she says.

The iwi is particularly concerned about Tamaki’s messages and perspective because its homeland- in the area around Kāwhia and Te Awamutu – is on the verge of a major outbreak.

Tamaki was charged last month with failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act and Alert Level 3 Order by co-organising a lockdown protest in Auckland.

He has since appeared in court over breaching bail conditions.

Hannah Tamaki has been sharing her views on social media supporting those standing up for freedom and choice.

At last Tuesday’s protest, she told them she was proud of them.

Destiny Church has not yet responded to media requests for comment.



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