Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Tamakis' Med holiday a heaven on earth

Bishop Brian Tamaki. Photo / APN
Bishop Brian Tamaki. Photo / APN

Weeks after embarking on a fundraising blitz to raise millions of dollars for their new City of God, Destiny Church pastors Samuel and Kiri Tamaki have gone on a European cruise and stayed at some top holiday destinations.

Samuel is the son of Destiny founder Bishop Brian Tamaki and his wife Hannah.

The couple celebrated Samuel's 30th birthday by staying in five-star hotels in Dubai and enjoying a 10-day cruise around the Mediterranean aboard the Celebrity Equinox.

As New Zealand froze in sub-zero conditions, Kiri posted pictures of herself online getting a suntan on the sands of some of Europe's most exclusive beaches in a sweltering 32 degrees.

The Tamakis also visited one of Christianity's most sacred sites, the Vatican in Rome.

"We graced Vatican City with our presence today," said Kiri in a Facebook post. "Was Absolutely Breathtaking - my favorite was the Sistine Chapel."

The couple flew out of New Zealand on June 19, leaving their four children, Roman Brian 6, Heaven Ruby Hannah, 5, Paris Evelyn Angel, 3, and 1-year-old Diamond Grace in the care of Samuel's parents.

Two days later they boarded the Celebrity Equinox, which boasts "every imaginable comfort", at Civitavecchia, the seaport of Rome.

Prices for a 10-day voyage start at about $2000 per person but the Tamakis are believed to have gone for one of the luxury cabins which cost closer to $10,000 per person.

They travelled through Sicily and on to the Greek resort islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.

The Tamakis docked in the port town of Kusadasi, Turkey, where Kiri updated her followers about the shopping opportunities: "OMG I have never seen anything like it. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada you name it they had it. I've been to China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, LA ... they have nothing on Kusadasi. I was in shopping heaven, so much fun, not good for the pocket though!"

In response, Destiny Church members mentioned how much they too would one day like to see some of the places their pastors were visiting.

Destiny Church spokeswoman Janine Cardno said the trip was "personal".

"Your question pertains to the private affairs of individuals which is not appropriate for comment," she said in a statement. "We can confirm absolutely no church funds were involved."

Last month, Bishop Brian Tamaki unveiled plans for the new Destiny Church headquarters in Wiri, South Auckland, at their annual conference in Rotorua. He demanded his followers give deeply.

"I don't care what the media say, I don't care what your relatives say, I don't care what the world says, nobody should be not tithing."

bevan.hurley@hos.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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