Life-changers: Destiny Church's Analisa and Cheyne Hakaraia


Destiny Church has its eyes on Queenstown.

Two members of the controversial church, a Pentecostal fundamentalist Christian movement founded by self-proclaimed Bishop Brian Tamaki in Auckland in 1988, have recently moved to Queenstown.

Their long-term goal’s to establish an ‘Iwi Tapu’ in the resort — a satellite community of the
church where members and the public can gather on Sundays to watch a live-stream of the Auckland service.

For now, Cheyne and Analisa Hakaraia are introducing the church’s Man Up and Legacy
programmes — aimed at men and women, respectively — which they say have transformed the lives of ‘‘dysfunctional’’ people.

Man Up was initially a prison rehab programme.

Cheyne, a project manager, says the programmes aren’t about pushing religious beliefs on participants — and they’ve been attended by people from all walks of life and religions, including Muslims and Buddhists.

‘‘You don’t have to come to the group and someone is going to Bible-bash you or [say] ‘do you want to get prayed for?’

“If people want prayer, of course we’ll do it, but it’s mainly a neutral ground for all sorts of people.”

The 15-week courses, based on several books Tamaki’s written, explore how dysfunction enters people’s lives and aims to help make participants better family and community members.

Analisa: ‘‘It’s not just for gangsters, it’s not just for drug addicts or anything like that, it’s for regular people; it’s for everybody.

“You name anything that’s got to do with dysfunction in a man or woman, in a house or home, and we talk about it.”

While Tamaki’s generated more than his fair share of controversy over the years, perhaps most notably for his views on homosexuality, Cheyne says he’s ‘‘evolved’’ since his days of
marching against liberal movements like the Civil Union Bill.

Last June he apologised for years of offensive remarks about the rainbow community.

“I’ve known the man pretty much all my life and he’s such a great man … a good father, a good dude to hang with.

“He has friends in the gay community as well … people are always going to have opinions,
especially when people are doing great things, but you can’t misjudge the fruit in the man’s life,” Cheyne says.