Cash for preaching lifts Tamaki's pay to $1m

By Jared Savage

Bishop Brian Tamaki. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today
Bishop Brian Tamaki. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today

Bishop Brian Tamaki is paid an average of $3000 each time he preaches at a Destiny Church outside of Auckland.

This helps boost his income to more than a million dollars a year.

The speaking fee is paid by the 20 church branches in New Zealand and Australia.

Individual payments range from $1000 to $12,000 depending on the size of the church.

The Weekend Herald understands the speaking fees would average $3000 a week, or $150,000 a year.

Lynda Stewart, who worked as a financial administrator for Bishop Tamaki for seven years until he became a bishop in 2005, said he preached at one of the regional Destiny branches nearly every week.

Before Pastor Andrew Stock led a walkout of Destiny Church in Brisbane, Ms Stewart said, he told her Bishop Tamaki was paid $12,000 to speak there.

She believed concern over money was one of the reasons for Mr Stock's resignation.

"That's a lot of money for a small church to pay to hear their bishop preach," she said.

As well as the weekly speaking fees, she told the Weekend Herald that Bishop Tamaki received:

A six-figure salary believed to be in the region of $350,000.

Close to $100,000 tithed by Destiny pastors to him rather than their own churches.

Between $350,000 and $500,000 from the "First Fruits" donation

An assortment of expensive gifts - Destiny churches are expected to donate at least $1000 to buy gifts on significant milestones, such as birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and Father's Day.

Yet, public documents show Bishop Tamaki took out a second mortgage on his $1.2 million home in February 2007 to a company called Keven Investments Ltd.

That business is owned by Rod and Caroline Keven. Caroline is Bishop Tamaki's sister according to his autobiography.

The couple live four houses away from Bishop Tamaki in the suburb of Maraetai, but have since left the church.

Attempts to contact them about the mortgage were unsuccessful, but Mr Keven had earlier declined to comment on the reason he left.

"Whatever my personal feelings are are personal and private and that's the way it is."

Shortly after the Maraetai home was remortgaged, Bishop Tamaki bought a 12m Rayglass boat which he moors at Pine Harbour marina.

The boat, which retails for more than $500,000, was an upgrade on the $110,000 boat he bought in 2004.

The new boat is understood to have been financed from proceeds of the church bookstore, where his messages can be bought on CD or DVD for between $10 and $20.

On the TVNZ CloseUp programme last week, Bishop Tamaki said the media exaggerated his lifestyle.

"I believe we are preaching a relevant gospel, we are preaching life, changing thousands of lives and that message is what I am here for."

He said his annual income was "comfortable, but it's not extravagant like the media is exaggerating".

Destiny Church spokeswoman Janine Cardno referred all questions about the church and money to Bishop Tamaki's autobiography More Than Meets the Eye - which costs $50.

BRIAN TAMAKI'S INCOME:
$950,000 to $1.1 million

* Salary from Destiny Auckland: $200,000
* Salary from Destiny Rotorua: $148,500
* Pastors' tithes: $100,000
* Speaking engagements: $150,000
* First Fruits: $350,000 to $500,000

Extras

* Profits of messages sold at
Destiny Church pay for $500,000 boat
* All 20 Destiny Church branches are encouraged to give at least $1000 to buy gifts for celebrations, including birthday, Christmas Day, anniversaries and Father's Day.

- NZ Herald

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