A religious historian says controversial church leader Brian Tamaki now sees himself as a martyr.
The Destiny Church bishop was arrested yesterday after allegedly breaching bail conditions.
Police officers arrived at his rural east Auckland home as he and wife Hannah Tamaki were hosting a live Facebook video.
This morning, Massey University's Peter Lineham told Newstalk ZB's Tim Dower that Tamaki is comparing himself to other jailed religious leaders such as Martin Luther King Junior.
"It just seems to me in a certain sense he sees himself as a martyr for the cause of truth and righteousness and I wonder if that's actually going to help his proceedings," said Lineham.
Lineham, who wrote the 2013 book Destiny: The Life and Times of a Self-Made Apostle, told Dower that Tamaki's arrest will increase publicity for the leader, and make him more sympathetic to his followers.
"Usually martyrdom does have the effect of increasing people's following from the people who you want to impress," he said.
When arrested, Tamaki even had the hint of a smile as his wife planted a kiss on his lips before he was driven away in a police vehicle to Mt Eden prison.
His journey to the Mt Eden remand centre was livestreamed by his followers and, on arrival, a vocal crowd of more than 50 blocked their entry into the centre to perform a haka.
Supporters held signs that said "Jacinda, no jabbing junior in January" and "free Tamaki" before clearing the road and allowing police to enter the prison without incident.
The 63-year-old has been charged three times over his attendance at Auckland Domain lockdown protests.
Yesterday's arrest is thought to be in relation to Tamaki's attendance at a rally in Christchurch earlier in January.
The rallies were held to protest against rules like vaccine mandates and lockdowns, which are meant to stop or control the spread of Covid-19.
Lineham says Tamaki is taking the punishment for his and his followers' collective refusal to follow government instruction.
"I think they hope that it'll increase both the publicity and the awareness ... that the church stands for something more than just religion, it stands for the strengthening of the rights of all New Zealanders," he said.
"I think in lots of ways this is going to be played out by Tamaki that he's paid a high price for the liberties of the citizens."