Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Online budgeting tipster keeps link to her wealthy dad a secret

Jasmine McPhee, with husband Vance and children, once had to cook over a candle because her power had been cut off.
Jasmine McPhee, with husband Vance and children, once had to cook over a candle because her power had been cut off.

Jasmine McPhee has shot to fame this year with a Facebook page explaining how to feed a family of six for under $20. What the page doesn't reveal is that she is the daughter of the Harley Davidson-riding Bishop Brian Tamaki.

McPhee, who has five children aged 3 to 17, started the page in February and now has more than 52,000 followers. The Manurewa mum has appeared on television and radio shows giving grocery and cooking budget tips and has even created a smartphone application. Now, she has a book deal with Penguin Books.

On Facebook, McPhee often refers to her father but never mentions he is Bishop Tamaki. "I wouldn't lie about it, but I didn't advertise it," she told the Herald on Sunday last night.

In March, McPhee told the Rotorua Daily Post that she had struggled financially and at one stage was forced to cook a can of spaghetti over a candle because her power had been cut off. She and her husband had made some bad choices, and refused help from family.

She is married to Vance McPhee, a keen cook who was a contestant on NZ's Hottest Home Baker and who features on the Goodman Fielder advertisement Kiwi Faves.

Official records reveal both of them have been bankrupted: Vance in 2006, Jasmine in 2011.

"Bankruptcy came from a house purchase that went bad. I am bankrupt until next year," she said. "When I went through that hard time, I wasn't talking to my parents.

"I love my parents but I am Jasmine and it is good to be known for what you do and who you are rather than for who your parents are."

Hannah Tamaki said she told her daughter not to mention the family connection, because "she got there on her own" and the book deal may lead to the financial independence McPhee has always wanted.

"This lady from Penguin saw her and couldn't get her out of her mind," Tamaki said. "I said to Brian, 'All we are going to focus on is praying for Jasmine.' She has all these ideas, she is helping all these people, but how do we get that to turn into money?"

After the 45-minute prayer session, her daughter got the call she was hoping for: Penguin wanted to publish her book.

Tamaki said her daughter was fiercely proud and independent. "She wants to succeed but she doesn't want us giving her handouts all the time."

Last year, the Tamakis' son Samuel and daughter-in-law Kiri attracted criticism for a European cruise, weeks after a fundraising blitz to raise millions of dollars for Destiny Church's new City of God. The couple, both pastors at Destiny, celebrated Samuel's 30th birthday by staying in five-star hotels in Dubai and enjoying a 10-day cruise around the Mediterranean. A Destiny spokeperson said no church funds were used.

- Herald on Sunday

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