Destiny Church scrapped a public protest haka in Tauranga yesterday because of fears it would upset people.
The Enough is Enough haka was to have been held in the Mid-City Mall to continue voicing the view of almost 150 Western Bay of Plenty churchgoers who attended last week’s march on Parliament. But the haka was called off at the last moment, with leaders saying the church’s controversial views had been misunderstood.
Last week’s march – one of the biggest protests seen on Parliament grounds – was called by Brian Tamaki, the leader of the Auckland-based church, as a stand against the Civil Unions Bill and prostitution.
Haka organiser Tauha Tekani said the church had wrongly been presented as anti-gay.
Mr Tekani, a Destiny New Zealand political party member and delegate for Maori electorate Ikaroa Rawhiti, said while the Civil Union Bill, which proposes legal recognition of gay relationships, was part of the reason for the protest in Wellington, the church was not against gays.
The Tauranga man had taught churchgoers a song and haka for a public display.
It was cancelled yesterday morning because of the risk of upsetting the public, and was later held inside the church’s central city premises.
“This was more about putting on a presentation for our pastor. It wasn’t directed at trying to cause a scene, it wasn’t anything about that for us,” Mr Tekani said.
“The haka doesn’t mention anything about anti-gay.”
Mr Tekani admitted that the haka was confrontational, but it was not directed specifically at gay people. And it was the same in Wellington last Monday.
“This confrontation is not against a group of people, it is more against immoral legislation coming from the Government.”
These included reforms of laws on prostitution and lowering the drinking age, although it was the controversial Civil Union Bill that sparked action from the Church.