For Hannah Tamaki it must have been the week from - you'll pardon the expression - hell. First, her husband, Bishop Brian, receives a set of orders direct from God in his avatar as the Holy Spirit, telling him to instruct his parishioners to take bills in large denominations and place them on the stage during a Destiny Church service. Because this is the sort of thing God thinks about all the time.

Hannah may have tried to discourage the bishop but from what I hear, Destiny Church hews closely to Ephesians 5:23 - "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church."

Anyway, as if that wasn't enough for her to deal with, doesn't the big lummox go and post photos of the event on Twitter, which quickly alerts the world to the fact that Brian Tamaki does one mean Scrooge McDuck impression, even if he does stop just short of actually diving into the money.

A social media-driven firestorm erupts and what does the Bishop do? He goes pig hunting with the builders. And guess who's left to front the media?


That's right. Hannah has to try to explain to the likes of John Campbell what on Earth her husband was thinking.

Chance would have been a fine thing, because all Campbell wanted to talk about was how much money Hannah and Bishop Brian had.

As far as organised religions go, the one with which Destiny has most in common is Lotto: a large number of people pay out regularly in the hope of receiving a windfall that is actually never going to happen.

That, of course, is their choice. But not everyone who donates to Destiny gets that choice. You and I, for instance, who as taxpayers contribute to the church via taxpayer-funded grants such as the $860,000 it received from the Ministry of Social Development for youth programmes.

Bishop Brian specifically told his congregation that by laying down their money at his feet, they would qualify for "unprecedented favour" from the Lord.

Bishop Brian is effectively selling God's services as though the Lord is a deity for hire.

This sort of thing, when done by the Catholic church centuries ago, so incensed Martin Luther that it led to the Reformation, one of the greatest upheavals in European history.

Here, it has led to Campbell having a tawdry conversation with Hannah Tamaki about money.


She and her husband, she confessed, are humble wage slaves, receiving a salary signed off by the church's board.

She wouldn't say how much they are paid, but she did acknowledge that they travel business class, which means it's an obscene amount.

She also discussed her jewellery, which, she confirmed, includes a $90,00 ring.

How did she pay for that? Well, she saved up. Have you ever tried to save $90,000? It's nearly impossible.

She wasn't wearing the ring because she was having it insured and getting quotes. I can only imagine what it must be like to have jewellery so valuable that you have to shop around for insurance.

Doesn't hearing about other people's problems make you grateful for your own lot in life?


What critics get most agitated about is that the source of these wages is ultimately the poor people who come to Destiny in the hope of finding wealth rather than providing it.

But giving Destiny your money won't make you richer, it will only make you poorer.

How much poorer?

That's up to you, really. How much are you prepared to give?