Brian Tamaki’s grasp of New Zealand history does not match the magnitude of his chutzpah.
News media are reporting the Destiny Church leader has been taken into police custody and his group, the Freedom and Rights Coalition, has broadcast this on social media.
This puts a name to the Police announcement that a 63-year-old man was arrested in relation to a breach of bail conditions following an event in Christchurch earlier this month.
The police said the man was due to appear in the Auckland District Court via audio visual link later today.
Tamaki is facing charges of breaching Covid lockdown restrictions and a condition of bail was that he not attend further protests.
Tamaki and his wife Hannah earlier posted a separate video in which he said the police were coming to arrest him.
Was that a joyous hallelujah we heard ringing around the nation?
RNZ further reported:
In the video Tamaki said if he did end up in prison he could be New Zealand’s first political prisoner.
One News similarly reported that Tamaki had described himself in a live video as a “political prisoner”.
“Fundamentally it’s speaking for our freedom and our rights, basically. There’s nothing else. I’m not a criminal.”
He has got to be kidding about that political prisoner stuff and we must wonder about news media which allowed the claim to go unchallenged.
Te Rauparaha became one of New Zealand’s first political detainees when he was seized during the fighting in Hutt Valley in 1846. Other Māori leaders who faced similar treatment in the 19th century included Te Kooti, Te Whiti and Tohu Kākahi.
Another detainee was Hohepa Te Umuroa (Ngāti Hau of Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi). In 1846, Te Umuroa and a number of Whanganui Māori joined Te Rangihaeata’s armed resistance to the European settlement of Hutt Valley.
In May 2012, NBR published an article headed Does New Zealand now hold political prisoners in its jails?
In this, Bryce Edwards said the imprisonment of Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara on arms charges had outraged supporters who claimed their sentences were more about justifying a massive police blunder than a punishment befitting their convicted crimes.
Interestingly, none other than Michael Laws agrees that Iti and Kemara are political prisoners and that future generations may regard their efforts as principled, even naming streets after them. Laws, however, is definitely not advocating for their cause and is very clear that the police reacted exactly as they should have to ‘nip some nutters in the bud’…
Another source of information is Rock College: An unofficial history of Mount Eden Prison, published last year by Massey University Press
In this, historian Mark Derby tells “the inside story’ of Mt Eden Prison.
Grim, Victorian, notorious, for 150 years Mount Eden Prison held both New Zealand’s political prisoners and its most infamous criminals. Te Kooti, Rua Kenana, John A. Lee, George Wilder, Tim Shadbolt and Sandra Coney all spent time in its dank cells. Its interior has been the scene of mass riots, daring escapes and hangings.
Tamaki could take another tack (we suggest) by aiming for religious martyrdom.
This would be an extreme step, because martyrdom critically involves a journey to the Hereafter. Moreover, we suspect our justice authorities would balk at resurrecting the death penalty just for him, regardless of the extent to which he has rankled them.
Nor – of course – could Tamaki validly lay claim to being the first Christian martyr.
We learn this from an article headed Stephen’s Lapidation which says Stephen (St Stephen, we suppose) was described by Luke in Acts 6:8 as
“… a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” Unfortunately, this powerful personality and faithfulness resulted in his death and turned him into the first Christian martyr.”
Lapidation is the fancy word for the method of capital punishment – he was stoned to death – that made a martyr of Stephen.
We imagine it would be easy to muster a team of volunteers to throw the stones in Tamaki’s case.
He would be spared, of course, if the teaching of Jesus was invoked to require the first stone be thrown only by those without sin.
More fundamentally, not even those who have pressed for the restoration of capital punishment in this country – so far as Point of Order is aware – have championed death by stoning.