The author of a new book on the Destiny Church says the church comes under more scrutiny than similar operations because of its Māori orientation.
Peter Lineham, an associate history professor at Massey University, wrote the book because he wanted to understand what drove Brian Tamaki and his church.
He says Destiny has become more Māori-focused as the years have gone on, and lost some of its wealthy white backers in the process.
It has also courted publicity, but it has met with an extraordinary backlash.
"I can think of other churches that have almost identical messages and yet there was endless satire and fun made and I couldn’t help thinking that in the end the only distinguishing feature was that the Tamaki's were Māori and that the church was primarily composed of Māori and I think there is a bit of an underlying racist attitude to people’s reaction to Destiny," Dr Lineham says.
Destiny: The Life and Times of a Self-Made Apostle will be published this month by Penguin.
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