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Tamaki with Queen sends bad message

Wed 24 May 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

Gay Maori leaders are concerned at the negative message sent to gay and lesbian Maori by the lingering presence of homophobic Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki beside the Maori Queen at the weekend's celebrations of her 40 years as Queen. Tamaki has repeatedly railed against "a radical homosexual agenda" influencing a government "gone evil" and claims that a hidden agenda of civil unions is "to promote the gay lifestyle to children." During a radio talkback show recently he gleefully recounted his belief that in the past Maori used to kill their gays and lesbians. For most of the morning of the festivities Tamaki was allowed to sit at the Queen's side in the chair usually taken by her husband, giving the impression to Maori who are unaware of protocol that the arch-homophobe "has been elevated from Bishop to God... I think younger Maori in particular will be swayed by that, and might even think that she is championing Brian Tamaki," according to respected elder Henare Te Ua. Te Ua says he has heard concerned feedback from maoridom over the past two days about Tamaki's attaching himself to the Queen. But he says that protocol surrounding the Queen means that even if senior Tainui, who hosted the event, were aware of the subliminal messages sent by Tamaki's presence, they could not contradict her apparent wish that he accompany her. Asked whether the Queen could or should have defused the situation herself, Te Ua says that she is "a gracious person whose inclusiveness was probably taken advantage of by Tamaki." He believes Tamaki took advantage of the Queen, who is known to be in poor health, for his own ends. Claudette Hauiti, producer of the respected Takataapui glbt programme for the Maori TV network says the situation should send warning bells to those surrounding the Queen. "I hope that the apparent conferring of mana on Tamaki is just a symptom of bad management rather than bad intentions," she says. Hauiti says the Queen is not known to be homophobic herself, "not oppressive of any people... I don't believe that she accepts those principles and philosophies of Destiny Church."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 24th May 2006 - 12:00pm

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