Brian Tamaki – Life of Brian documentary

Family man or gay basher? Charmer or manipulator? Man of God or extreme fundamentalist? You be the judge with this behind-the-pulpit look at Bishop Brian Tamaki in Inside New Zealand: The Life of Brian, screening Thursday, July 17th at 9:30pm on TV3.

Filmed over seven months, producer and presenter Ross Jennings negotiates a probing, honest and open look into Tamaki’s private and professional lives. We go inside the head of the Destiny Church’s home, inside his boat, inside his church and yes, even inside his flashy wardrobe.

Jennings puts the tough questions to the controversial Tamaki, and speaks to his disgruntled former finance officer. It is true that members are asked to sign a contract that tells them that by holding back their tithe they are robbing God?

Jennings also asks, how does he pay for his lifestyle? With public showings of parties and lavish vacations, were these paid for by Tamaki personally, or by the church? And is it true that the large donations of “first fruit” that Destiny Church-goers are encouraged to make go directly to Brian?

We will look at the non-financial controversies of Bishop Brian as well. Tamaki has long been outspoken on his views on homosexuality, yet he claims to believe that his is “the most tolerant religion on Earth.” But what would he do if one of his grandchildren were to become gay? Would he reject him or her?

Plus, what are Tamaki’s political aspirations? Does he really believe he can be Prime Minister? And what laws would he change if he were to get into power?

All of these questions are put to the man when Inside New Zealand: The Life of Brian screens on Thursday, July 17th at 9:30pm on TV3.


  1. Bex says:

    17th of July is a saturday not a thursday….. When is it on?!

  2. Bex says:

    my bad, on another planet!

  3. Margaret Trawick says:

    Just saw it. Absolutely amazing! Congratulations, you people who made this documentary.

  4. Margaret Trawick says:

    p.s. Tamaki did a good job, too, under so much pressure. You’ve gotta see this guy.

  5. Dick Gazinya says:

    As a man of God myself and also an entrepreneur, my bullsh*t detector goes off a bit with this guy. I think he’s more self-agrandizing and self-promoting than anything else, which is not a bad thing per se. But it’s explosive when mixed with religion. The emperor wears no clothes (or at least expensive ones in his case), but no one has the audacity to call him out on it. Would be interesting to get cameras on him behind closed doors when he’s acting upon his own freewill and not acting for the camera.

  6. Hayley says:

    Warning bells went off when I watched this. It’s one thing to dress well and to have a car and a nice home – but to have a mansion, a flashy car and a boat (not your household tinny either!) and a love affair with a Harley is another story. I don’t think Jesus ever taught the apostles a “gospel of materialistic prosperity” but one of humility and sacrifice.
    The other thing I noticed about Tamaki was when he was caught out in the beginnings of a lie by his own wife. It would have been far better for him to come out and say ‘oh yes, that’s right, i remember that night when I got pulled over for racing the cops…’ Instead it fell to his wife, who was quite honest, and said ‘Oh you remember that night when you were racing and got caught’. All Tamaki could say was ‘You’ll have to remind me, I don’t remember…etc’ Blatant lie and he was caught…
    The documentary was very, very good…but not good for Tamaki. I’m glad I saw it, it confirms my suspicions about the man.

  7. Tia says:

    Just because he has nice stuff you think he’s not a good Christian? Did you know his Church gifted him that Harley. It’s their choice to give him one. I don’t think you’d turn down a Harley if you were given one. Anyway, you think Jesus taught his people to have wear raggy clothes and live in a cardboard box? No. He taught them that they shall be prosperous which includes material prosperity.
    And ok. He has a past. Doesn’t everyone? He wasn’t exactly born a goodie-two shoes… but not many people are. Maybe he wasn’t proud of it either. Would you be? Maybe he actually forgot about it and needed to be reminded. Just because he has a few flaws you wanna hate on him like he’s Hitler?
    Bishop Brian is just trying to make a difference in this country and trying to help people which I think is awesome. He just wants to right the wrongs that this country has made. Some of the laws this country passes are stupid anyway and he wants to change it. Doesn’t everyone? If you had the chance to try and change or make a law then wouldn’t you? He has his point of view and so does everyone else, it’s just he chooses to broadcast them to the country. Don’t hate on him just cause he has an opinion

  8. Richard says:

    Big up’s for Brian leading the way for christianity in NZ. We need some one to tackle this tall poppy syndrome we have in NZ and it is about time some stands up for the truth surely there is nothing wrong with that. So often we look at the negative aspects of life which is in our nature; and it is too easy to critise and point out the wrong’s in people that are willing
    There are many camera angles on Brians life like, mariage, family, friends, church, community, business. But we tend to look at the business life and point the finger at his meterial posisions which is too easy to critisize because we are driven by a powerfull force, which is money. Dont give Brian a hard time about the homosexuality he interacts with them more times than the average person. I was once against gays, until I became a christian, and finding my self serving and ministering to them, in fact the church is doing more good for the gay comunity. The media has ways of misinterpriting messages to suit the general puplic. Do not be foolish and believe everything you see and read on paper, TV and radio, it’s a clever parlor trick all done for show.

  9. monica macrae says:

    Hi I missed this doco and was wondering where I could see it?does anybody know?

  10. Gina says:

    Oh ok, so just because he’s a christian he should live like a poor man? there’s no sin in having posessions — I know a number of christians who are millionaires but are called in a different ministry — Brian’s however is called to be in the spotlight for a purpose. How about you turn your attention away from Brian who’s focussing on leading his church and focus your so called warnnig bells or bullsh*t detector towards our politicians leading this country like uhhh.. Winston Peters… supposedly had imbezzled funds for his own personal use, or Taito Fields being charged with Fraud — Housing NZ going on a number of extravagant training projects at 5 star resorts using tax payers money and the list goes on– these people you voted into parliament — so… take a look at yourselves and what you can try to do to change this country instead of judging and pointing finger — at least Brian has the balls to… and I’m no fan of Destiny either but I give respect to where respect is due.

  11. Susan says:

    Well Brian does have some good things to say but Im afraid many of the population are put off by his extremely extravagant lifestyle including my children who are in their 20s.
    I agree with Hayley there. I see his followers as stupid contributing to this lifestyle. If they want to hear The
    Word thats wonderful but find a better cause to give your money to. Im a christian with no flooring a house that floods a rundown property and practically no heating .. Id like to see Brian endure what I have.
    I know the secret that to give is to receive who does he give money to. I didnt see the documentary but heard about it.
    If your Maori you can squeak for anything and get it in New Zealand stuff the whites. There are some of us out there doing our best to survive so its sickening to see the guy living this extremely lavish lifestyle. He’d be more convincing to many if he gave it all up and had a modest 3 bedroom home and no major luxuries. Yes we have a computer we have to have entertainment we cant afford meals out. Brian speaks the Word of God but his lifestyle doesnt support it Im afraid. My kids watched it and said “”what a crock” as Im sure many people did. Not
    moaning just saying that Brian needs a dose of reality
    and his financial church supporters need a dose of sense.

  12. Susan says:

    and bollocks to Gina I dont think youd find many
    committed christians in the millionaire group Im afraid
    if they were they wouldnt be millionaires theyd have
    given it all away except what was basically necessary to have a modest lifestyle!!!

  13. Richard says:

    Brian Tamaki is a great Maori leader, and I have no doubt began his christian ministry walking with God.
    I am not sure that God would condone his having such an extravagant lifestyle however.
    I have Destiny church friends who say that men of the bible were rich.. ‘Abraham, Jacob,and Job etc…. whats so bad about that, they say !
    My answer is that none these got rich off of church tithings.

    One thing Maoris don’t need is a leader that falls, and I for one believe this will happen.

    What right does any christian have to lead this kind of extravagant lifestyle when there is so much starvation and poverty in our world.

  14. Ex destiny follower says:

    O my god!!! I don’t believe these people on here.Gifted a Harley???they got sucked in to buying him that.That guy lives off the the money those brain washed followers give. Are they blind or what?!!!! I sat in his church once and all I saw were all these people swaying and singing like he was god hellOoooooooooo..he’s not the big G.O.D.I couldn’t wait to get out of there, so glad I go to a normal church now… And he is not a good Maori leader..He is now copying a cult in America with ideas of his own town.I know of some people who got the hell out cos he wanted more money from them That’s just crazy .And his wife telling the followers on his doco that she likes the sound the coins but likes the sound of paper money better..For goodness sake what is wrong with those people.?The Tamaki’s are getting rich from the followers and they don’t even see it.Only God will say who goes where.

  15. Ex destiny follower says:

    It wont be long before another starts a cult up just like Tamaki he is a disgrace to the Maori race living off brain washed people along with his now BLOND!!!! wife .Jingers lady get rid of the blond it looks bloody hilarious ..

  16. Average Student says:

    I’ve watched a fair few documentaries and episodes, as well as followed the news about Destiny Church. While I can’t say I’m a expert on these matters, I think it’s fairly clear what, exactly, is needed.

    What is needed is, even just a few people, who are completely willing to stand up for what they believe in, aren’t willing to back down, but who won’t react with violence. For instance, during the ‘Enough is Enough’ Destiny Church rally, many of the Counter-Protesters ran away in tears! I know it’s hard, when people are trying to demean you, but eventually we all have to stand up for what we believe in. In the end, only God can tell us who is right, and who is wrong. I believe in God, but I don’t believe in any Scripture what so ever, I’m simply of the belief that God gave us Free Will, and that I’ll learn about him when I meet him, not from a Book or from another Man.

    I stand up for what I believe in, and I believe in Compromise and Tolerance, balanced with Honesty and Integrity, Morals and Ethics.

    So, if there ever is another ‘Enough is Enough’ in the capital, I plan to be wearing a WHITE shirt, with the letters ‘Enough is Enough’ printed in bold, black writing on the front, standing in the way of the Destiny Church march. I expect I may get hurt, fantatics and bullies often resort to violence to force others to agree with their views, or to just plain get out of their way, but I won’t move, and I won’t be cowed.

    I simply hope for two things, One: That other’s with stand with me. And Two: That I may get the priviledge to talk to Brian Tamaki face-to-face, and explain to him just why he’s mentally, emotionally, and fashion-wise defective (Some of the things he dress’s in actually make him look gay, which I’ve been told by some gay & lesbian people I know, and other’s simply make him look like a dork)

    Oh, PS – I’ve been reading quite a few Destiny Chuch Supporters comments on a varied selection of websites, and I have to say -

    Learn how to f***ing spell and gain some correct grammar please, the way you write out your comments, your atrocious spelling and grammar not only make your ignorance apparent, but are also aggravating to read.


    Average Student.

  17. Warwick says:

    Average student – I think you mean ‘fanatics’ not ‘fantatics’ lol. You’re right though. God gives us free will and you and others seem to be struggling with the fact that Destiny members have a free will as well. I hope you do get to meet God one day although Jesus’ words “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me” appears to rule this out based on your post.

    Ex destiny member, you need to forgive whoever hurt you bro, not for their sake but for yours.

  18. Ex destiny follower says:

    Now looky hear Warwick. Destiny is nothing but a colt. I know destiny people ..DONATE… their money, or is it called seeds???yip, that’s the word Tamaki uses isn’t it??. They give their seeds to god??And he is the the only one who has become a millionaire by all these donated seeds. I hate the thort that he is robbing these people by brain washing .He was obviously taught by those americans that he hangs out with. And I havnt been hurt by anyone I just hate seeing people robbed.

  19. WAKE UP says:

    You see that comment above by “warwick” is what I am talking about! That sounds like a threat more then advice! And you call yourselves christians? This Brian Tamaki is using and abusing the bible to bring wealth and power upon himself – as well as his close companions. 9000 followers in New Zealand? Are you SERIOUS!!! I am astounded by that figure . Please do NOT preach to me about what the bible says, you obviously take Brians word for what the meaning interprets into. A bunch of sheep following a false and greedy evil man. Do not say that Destinys church need the funds to reach more people and let there message reign on as many hearts as possible. Some members donate 10% of their wages to the cause – that does not include the Sunday rounds of collection (which “the folded stuff” is more appreciated”). I do not think it takes reading the bible to come to a conclusion that calling the rest of the world your ENEMIES – because they do not follow what you do – is not only wrong but as you are not GOD and neither is Tamaki – why do you judge? Call me a hypocrite for saying that last statement , I do not care. I just want you followers to wake your ass*s up so your children do not succumb to the same dictatorship you have. You can not PAY your way into heaven. And you have ONE life..why do you followers dedicate it to someone who obviously needs no more financial help personally yet keeps asking you to give, and give and give. Be apart of a christian following – but do so with a clear conscience. If you have doubt (which I know MANY of you have) then maybe that is the REAL god telling you to follow your true heart and find him elsewhere – not through one man with a bible in one hand and his accountants number in the other.

  20. Lisa says:

    Well said WAKE uP. I am truly gobsmacked by how many people are being sucked into this life of brian crap. The bible tells us to test what is spoken and to see that it lines up with the word of God (the real God that is, not brian), and I refuse to call him “bishop” as it is a self-appointed role. This man is dillusional and even though right now he has radio personalities and other people thinking he is doing a “great” thing, I truly believe thatthis acceptannce of brian is going to come back and bite this country in the butt.

  21. Mike says:

    How to purchase this documentary? I can’t find it at our major online distributors in the US, and I need a copy asap. Thanks.

  22. jonny says:

    can some1 load this up on youtube??!!
    jesus said to the rich man go sell your harley, holdens actually he said ‘everything you own’….then you can follow me

  23. MAtthew says:

    Firstly it’s important to note that there is of course no god. Arguing about whether or not Tamaki is a “true Christian” is tatmemaout to arguing over who is the best unicorn-whisperer. Tamaki’s church is simply a method for Tamaki to extort funds from the gullible and the venerable. He is fascinating, in the same way that that the insane are fascinating. Tamaki’s extremist views, his misogyny, homophobia and predatory greed are tolerated or ignored by his parishioners because he fills their dull, befuddled minds with “entertainment”.

    It’s the same trick the European church play on its peasant 1500 years ago. Let’s face it, if you live in some ghastly south Auckland hovel, scraping by on a meagre state benefit or minimum wage, you too would be dazzled by the comparative luxury and glamour of Tamaki’s set up. The solution to the irradiation of likes of Tamaki and his henchmen is to ensure that people are better educated, and able to see though the myth to the predator behind it. Tamaki’s grooming of his flock is that same technique paedophiles use to seduce their victims, give false hope, praise and encouragement to the weak and vulnerable; until they confuse the message and the messenger; until they are so enamoured of their abuser that they willingly hand over there money (or motorbikes) and thank him for taking it from them.

  24. Judy says:

    A quick note if you were a church goer then you’d know that you giv a financial gift to help the church on top of the tithes as well it happens in a lot of churchs.Its discusting to see all the fowl language people go to lengths to use to get a message through yukk!!! especialy when commenting about Brian Tamaki I think good on him for preaching the word of God still even through all the flak he gets he will be blessed for planting a spiritual seed in people regardless…as we go 0n in life we all learn by our mistakes when I listen to Brian preach on tv hes quite onto it and knows what hes on about being a christian for ten years I like too hear a good word preached thats what its all about getting the word out there amongst the people praise the lord.

  25. Entertained says:

    MAtthew, 100% Y E S

    You’ve hit the nail on the head here. I’ve not heard this F R E A K or his “F L O C K ” more accurately described before.

    200 odd words of P U R E T R U T H . Listen people.

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