A leader of Rainbow Pride Auckland has resigned from his position after controversially supporting Brian Tamaki and Destiny Church.

James Laverty's resignation was announced this afternoon, less than 24 hours after he attended a conference at the Pentecostal church last night.

Laverty was one of 50 members of the rainbow community who were invited to attend and speak at the event - in which Tamaki sought to apologise for his past offensive behaviour and comments.

Tamaki said: "I want to personally say to anyone in your community that has been hurt ... I want to say sorry.

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"If in the past I have made you feel like that then I hope that this is something that we can begin to rectify."

From now on, he told church members, "we treat that community with respect. We don't snigger or laugh. There will be no more social media comments from this church about you."

Tamaki's apology contrasted with his previous hard line on gays. He has led marches against the Civil Union Bill, blamed same-sex relationships for the Christchurch earthquakes and claimed "gay power" was taking over the world.

During the conference, Laverty was welcomed on stage to speak and told the audience not everyone in the rainbow community agreed with his decision to attend, but he believed "you make change by coming together".

"Tonight is a good start."

James Laverty speaks alongside Hannah Tamaki at the Destiny Church event on Saturday. Photo / Brett Phibbs
James Laverty speaks alongside Hannah Tamaki at the Destiny Church event on Saturday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

However, in a statement released today, Rainbow Pride Auckland (RPA) made it clear they didn't agree with Laverty's stance.

"Following his public support of Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church, James Laverty has
resigned from his position as Guardian of Rainbow Pride Auckland," the statement said.

"While RPA is open to working with all community groups, the board and advisers both wholeheartedly disagree with Tamaki's previous comments and will wait to see if he and the church follow through on their promises to the community before making any further decisions.

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"At this stage, RPA is not in support of Tamaki, Destiny Church, or Coalition NZ and any member of RPA seen to be acting otherwise are doing so as an individual, not a representative of the society."

Laverty was said to have resigned in order to pursue opportunities working with churches across New Zealand.

We know some of you are upset at a few of our members’ attendance of Brian Tamaki’s event last night. There was no board...

Posted by Rainbow Pride Auckland on Saturday, 1 June 2019

Speaking with Newstalk ZB this afternoon, Laverty said he'd received a lot of hurtful messages after last night's conference.

"My community have been very hurtful today and it's really sad. I've been called the worst traitor in the world, I've sold out for a koha, and other names I won't mention," he said.

"I have to be honest, I walked in with a lot of fear when I arrived last night, but I have been more afraid of my own community after today.

"The hurtful things that have come from them are far more damaging than what Brian would have said to me."

In contrast, Laverty said he'd had a lot of warm messages from the church congregation and other ministers.

"So I think that I have to look more at that," he said.

Laverty acknowledged the possibility that Tamaki's public apology may be a PR stunt or politically motivated, but he said he felt there was a bigger picture to it.

"It's about dialogue and the first steps to dialogue, and I think that's what has been created from it," he said.

"It's up to the community to take him up on that offer or not, but I am going to start the dialogue and see what things we can put in place and how we can work forward in some way.

"I believe that is the right way for anybody that wants to see a change inside New Zealand churches."

Laverty also acknowledged that he had a different view of Brian Tamaki.

"I certainly come from that era where the comments that were said by him were very hurtful. But you know, as he said last night in his speech - hindsight is a wonderful thing and would he do it differently? Absolutely.

"We all live and learn in this world. I have to take him at his word, and his words definitely came across as being sincere."